Univercells has announced up to EUR 50M financing from Gamma Biosciences, a new investment platform supported by leading global investment firm KKR, that is focused on next-generation bioprocessing technologies for the production of advanced biologic therapies including gene- and cell-based therapies. The investment will be deployed in a newly created subsidiary of Univercells focused on accelerating the industrialization and commercialization of Univercells’ manufacturing technologies, including the NevoLine™ biomanufacturing platform and the scale-X™ bioreactor portfolio.
With the new financing, Univercells will focus on scaling the NevoLine platform and the scale-X portfolio with a comprehensive approach to streamline production, fund innovation, enable new product and application development and drive commercial acceleration. Specifically, the investment is intended to support continued expansion into the fast-growing gene therapy segment, including new developments that will enable a range of best-in-class solutions for viral manufacturing.
“KKR and Gamma will open access to an unparalleled global network, enabling accelerated production and delivery of the NevoLine and scale-X technologies and driving commercialization,” said Hugues Bultot, CEO of Univercells. “Aligning with high-end sponsors such as KKR that back our mission to have a positive impact on global health is a true honor for our team. This investment builds on existing grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Health Investment Fund and European Investment Bank and secures our ability to create value for the market with speed, efficacy and reliability.”
Both the scale-X bioreactor portfolio and the NevoLine biomanufacturing platform have been designed and commercially validated to reduce dramatically the footprint, capital and operational expenditures required to produce a variety of biologic and viral products. The investment is driven by a shared desire to make these breakthrough technologies more readily accessible and positively impact global health via effective, cost-controlled production solutions.
“KKR, through Gamma Biosciences, seeks to back innovative and impactful next-generation bioprocessing technologies, which is why we are excited to be investing in Univercells and its mission to deliver affordable biologics and gene therapies globally. Furthermore, we are excited to be working with Hugues and his team, who have a fantastic track record of building innovative biomanufacturing companies.” said Kugan Sathiyanandarajah, Director at KKR and Head of Europe for KKR’s Health Care Strategic Growth investing efforts, and Anuv Ratan, Principal at KKR.
The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2020. Once the transaction is complete, Univercells’ remaining business will concentrate on developing a portfolio of vaccines and biosimilars to be delivered at an affordable price and establishing its services offering.