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Center for Breakthrough Medicines in KoP secures $350M investment from South Korean firm

January 11, 2022

Source, Philadelphia Business Journal

The Center for Breakthrough Medicines in King of Prussia has landed a $350 million equity investment from South Korean conglomerate SK Inc.

The two organizations will work together to create what they say will be the world’s largest end-to-end cell and gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organization.

The effort includes previously disclosed plans to hire 2,000 people over the next four years at the center, which is based within MLP Ventures’ Discovery Labs innovation hub campus. The site was previously home to a GlaxoSmithKline research and development complex.

SK is a publicly traded holding company based in Seoul, South Korea, that primarily invests in the energy, chemicals, semiconductors, logistics, services and biopharmaceutical sectors.

Brian O’Neill, chairman of the Center for Breakthrough Medicines, said the collaboration will allow the center bring more than 700,000 square feet of cell and gene therapy product testing manufacturing capacity online. O’Neill also heads MLP Ventures.

“We chose to partner with SK based on our shared deep desire to cure cancer and eradicate genetic disease,” O’Neill said in a statement. “Thousands of people are dying every day, and we have the ability to cure patients by manufacturing these new technologies.”

The Center for Breakthrough Medicines plans to use the funds to enhance its array of gene and cell therapy product services that begin with pre-clinical testing and end with commercial manufacturing. Those existing and future capabilities include process development, viral vector manufacturing, cell processing, plasmid DNA, cell banking, and analytical development and testing.

The investment will also allow the center to pursue strategic joint ventures, sponsored research agreements, and the development of proprietary technology platforms.

The Philadelphia Business Journal reported the center was nearing a major investment from SK in November.

“The partnership with SK allows us to more fully realize our mission to save lives by accelerating the development and manufacturing of advanced therapies,” said Joerg Ahlgrimm, CEO of the Center for Breakthrough Medicines. “[It] accelerates our ability to bring together the world’s most brilliant minds to develop and manufacture cures.”

The investment in the center was made through SK Pharmteco, an SK holding company. Dong Hoon Lee, executive vice president of SK Inc., called the investment “a crucial foundation” for realizing SK’s vision to become a “global top-tier” contract development and manufacturing organization by 2025.

Incentrum Group acted as exclusive financial advisor on the transaction.