San Antonio — [Corrected 6/10/16, 11:10 a.m. See Below.] Incell, a contract manufacturer for the biotech industry for two decades, is starting a new business with a Belgian investor. Its purpose: to potentially produce a slew of spin-offs.
Called BioTurnKey, the new business is a joint venture between Incell and Wisetree Invest, a Belgian firm that backs early stage biotechs. BioTurnKey plans to develop life science products with the help of Incell’s manufacturing technology, and spin out companies based on those products, according to Mary Pat Moyer, founder, CEO, and chief science officer of Incell. The hope is those spinouts would be funded by Wisetree and other investors, says Moyer, who will also be the CSO of BioTurnKey. [Corrects misspelling of Moyer’s name.]
Moyer likened the approach to that of a startup accelerator, because the spinouts can take advantage of manufacturing techniques already in place at Incell, and thus advance quicker. “You also have a built-in way to say if you can’t manufacture it or you have a problem with manufacturing, you can kill it early,” she says.
Incell also expects to seek customers for BioTurnKey amongst hospitals, clinics, and academic institutions, which could also result in spin-out companies, she says. The JV will churn out products used in early-stage research—such as using a person’s own cells to make a therapy for cancer—with a particular focus on regenerative medicine, she says.
Incell has been making life science products—from mesenchymal stem cells to pharmaceutical compounds—for drug companies and others since Moyer founded it in 1993.
BioTurnKey, will manufacture products for clinical testing, as well as therapies, devices, and other life science products that have already been approved and are ready to be mass produced, she says. Like Incell, BioTurnKey will operate in both the U.S. and Europe (Belgium will be its overseas headquarters), with goals for Asia in the future, she says.
Incell needed more funding to launch BioTurnKey, so it amassed a syndicate, Moyer says. Another Belgian advisory and investment organization, called 4 For Cells, also participated in the deal. Moyer wouldn’t say how much Wisetree invested, noting only that it was in the millions.