Life Sciences

A compelling proposition for biotechs

We interview Vikas Gupta, who was appointed President of Recipharm’s recently renamed biologics business unit, ReciBioPharm, in early May.

Q: Can you tell me about ReciBioPharm and its compelling proposition for the biologics market?

A: ReciBioPharm is the biologics contract services division of Recipharm, a global contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO). We recently renamed the division ReciBioPharm, following the formal integration of Arranta Bio, the advanced therapy CDMO; GenIbet, a specialist in the manufacture of biological clinical material; and Vibalogics, a virotherapy CDMO.

Supported by the strength of the Recipharm Group, we are able to offer an attractive proposition for the biologics space. The acquisitions have significantly expanded our specialised CDMO capabilities, and we are now able to develop innovative technologies across gene therapy, viral vectors, mRNA, plasmid DNA, oncolytic viruses and microbiome.

Q: You’ve recently been appointed as head of ReciBioPharm. What are your plans for this new role?

A: BIO 2023 was my formal introduction to the market as head of ReciBioPharm. My initial focus will be on leading our integrated team as we look to promote our full service offering to innovative biotechs looking to advance their therapies and bring their drug products to market.

Q: What are some of the key challenges facing biopharma/biotechs right now and how can ReciBioPharm help address them?

A: Biotechs are coming under increasing pressure to bring their products to market as quickly as possible. However, finding the right partners to help develop assets can be challenging, especially when it comes to finding specialist expertise, capacity and support all under one roof.

That’s why I believe ReciBioPharm is such a compelling proposition for biotechs. We are part of one of the world’s leading CDMOs and have a full-service offering, from preclinical to clinical and commercial approval for new biological modalities. This encompasses a wide range of technologies based on live viruses and viral vectors, recombinant proteins, live microbial biopharmaceutical products, nucleic acid-based mRNA and plasmid DNA production. This versatility gives us a distinct advantage in the market, allowing us to cater to a wide range of client needs and provide comprehensive solutions across multiple cutting-edge technologies.

Q: ReciBioPharm recently signed a contract with MIT to develop rapid manufacturing of mRNA therapeutics. What more can you tell us about this deal?

A: The contract we have signed with MIT is part of the FDA’s initiative to have a fully-integrated, continuous manufacturing production line for mRNA vaccines. It’s a three-year project that will accelerate the deployment not only of mRNA vaccines for rapid response against future pandemics, but also of novel mRNA therapeutics to patients around the world. mRNA therapies are being researched to support the fight against rare diseases, infectious viruses and cancers.

The project will address current challenges in the continuous manufacturing of mRNA therapeutics. We are proud to be working with MIT on this ground-breaking FDA initiative and to be recognised as forward thinkers, pushing the boundaries of biologics manufacturing. Our work can enable new vaccines and therapies to be deployed quickly and be economically viable for patients in need.

Q: CDMO support for the development of cell and gene therapies and vaccines is in demand. Can you tell us about your offering in this space?

A: We offer end-to-end support for the production of cell and gene therapies, from pDNA manufacture and supply through to drug product development and commercial manufacturing.

Scaling up plasmid manufacturing can be difficult and we have available capacity to not only on-board new projects quickly, but also to respond flexibly to any challenges that occur along the way. Our team has the capabilities to manufacture preclinical through to commercial grade plasmids for use in mRNA, viral vector and gene therapies and clinical-stage vaccines. We can also provide development and manufacturing support for the end drug product.

Q: What are you hoping visitors to BIO will have learnt about ReciBioPharm at the event?

A: We were delighted to have the opportunity to present our combined biologics capabilities to business partners and for them to learn more about the breadth of our full-service offering, our expertise and track record. The Biologics business represents over 500,000 sq ft of state-of-the-art process development and commercial manufacturing space, in addition to Recipharm’s existing facilities, so we are ready and able to support new projects straight away. Added to this is our track record in biologics projects. For example, our contract with MIT in mRNA therapeutics continuous production and the recent FDA approval at our site in Portugal to manufacture VOWST, a breakthrough orally-administered fecal microbiota product for the prevention of Clostridioides difficile recurrent infection (CDI) in adults, following anti-bacterial treatment for recurrent CDI.