Rigenerand is based in Medolla, Italy, approx. 100 km south of Evotec’s Campus Levi-Montalcini in Verona. With their highly specialised team, Rigenerand operates a first-class certified facility that integrates state-of-the-art cGMP production with R&D and QC labs and development labs. The production facility, called “cell factory”, comprises a series of fully equipped clean rooms for the manufacturing of complex cell-based therapies. In total, the site in Medolla close to Modena comprises 1,200 sqm of high-tech manufacturing space, with potential for significant further expansion.
The acquisition expands Evotec’s cell therapy platform EVOcells by adding a dedicated, high-quality cGMP manufacturing site. The seamless integration of discovery and development of innovative cures combined with in-house capabilities in GMP manufacturing are mandatory within this field. While the revenue contribution will not be significant at the beginning, the manufacturing capability of Rigenerand along with the exceptional R&D power of Evotec will strengthen Evotec’s ability to successfully win new integrated partnerships within the innovative field of cell therapy.
Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, commented: “Cell therapies are an exciting emerging therapeutic modality with broad applicability across many indications. Originating from our leading iPSC platform, Evotec’s EVOcells platform enables the delivery of innovative cell therapeutics from inception to the patient. The acquisition of Rigenerand adds manufacturing capacity and expertise to the EVOcells platform. Our conversations with our partners as well as our own industry observations have made it clear that horizontal expansion and rapid iteration at the scale-up are critical within the cell therapy space. As we see very strong demand for our standalone Just – Evotec Biologics J.POD®s in the US and EU, it is strategically the logical step to build separate capability and capacity internally. We warmly welcome the Rigenerand team into the Evotec family and are excited to leverage their skill and expertise for our partners and ultimately the patients.”
Prof. Massimo Dominici, founder and CSO of Rigenerand and Professor of Oncology at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, said: “The combination of Rigenerand and Evotec is a unique opportunity to grow and a natural evolution for our team. The field of cell therapies is rapidly expanding with new products and novel technologies requiring R&D skills, flexibility in manufacturing and experience in pharmaceutical development. Evotec’s EVOcells platform and Rigenerand’s technologies and capacity to transform cells into therapeutic products combining an R&D vocation and manufacturing skills, is a unique combination with technological and logistic synergies that will make a very relevant impact in the cell therapy field with a state-of-the art cGMP Technological Center for Cell Therapy Manufacturing at a European scale.” '
Luca Marini, CEO of Xyence Capital SGR, the majority shareholder of Rigenerand, said: “We are very proud of the success of this deal because it shows our expertise in identifying high-potential scientific areas, such as cell therapies, and in providing a fair financial return to our investors that have chosen to contribute to the incubation and growth of Rigenerand since 2016. Evotec is the optimal industrial partner to bring Rigenerand to further global growth. Last but not least, we are happy to have created the conditions for a number of benefits for the local economy, as well as the basis for an evident scientific progress that remains the purpose and ethical core of our investment philosophy.”
About Cell Therapy and EVOcells
Cell therapy is a recent and innovative therapeutic modality that has the potential to deliver unprecedented therapeutic effects. Cell therapies can be used as a regenerative strategy, replacing a patient’s dysfunctional cells or are used as adoptive immunotherapy to help the immune system fight cancer. Sources for cell therapeutics range from the patient’s own material, a healthy donor or from stem cells. The advent of induced pluripotent stem cells (“iPS cells” or “iPSCs”) that can be generated directly from somatic cells has opened up stem cells as an almost unlimited source of consistent-quality material for such cell therapies. iPSC-derived, off-the shelf therapeutics are considered to be one of the most promising approaches in the cell therapy space.
Building on its many years of experience with iPSCs, Evotec has developed EVOcells as an integrated, versatile platform for the discovery, development and manufacturing of cell therapies. The Company’s aim is to develop innovative but cost-effective therapies for large patient numbers based on human cells to cure life-threatening diseases. Evotec’s current EVOcells project portfolio covers immuno-oncology, metabolic diseases, heart repair as well as exosome-based therapies. Evotec leverages the EVOcells platform for both proprietary and partnered projects, and is aiming to accelerate these projects towards transformative therapies, both within existing and new disease areas.