CNBC Disruptor 50

10. ElevateBio

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Founders: David Hallal (CEO), Vikas Sinha, Mitch Finer
Launched: 2019
Headquarters: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Funding:
$868 million
Valuation: N/A
Industry:
Biotech
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 0

Persephone Kavallines

The rise of gene editing technologies like CRISPR — which was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry last year — signals that the era of gene and cellular therapies for a wide variety of diseases is here. But a lot of work remains to be done for commercialization of the latest in medical science to have a real-world, life-saving impact on patients.

There are an estimated 1,000 companies and over 1,000 cell and gene therapies in development, but only a fraction of those (less than two dozen) approved for use in the U.S. That is expected to change in the years ahead. By the second half of this decade, the FDA could be approving between 10-20 — possibly even 30-60 — cutting-edge therapies annually, according to some estimates. That implies a market worth tens of billions of dollars.

The pandemic has resulted in even more growth for biotech companies, including ElevateBio, which is known for its technology platform and use of innovative gene and cell therapy concepts including CAR/TCR (T cell therapies) and molecular RNA. It seeks to clear a major roadblock in the era of gene therapy: manufacturing scale.

ElevateBio estimates that billions of cells will need to be manufactured to treat patients as personalized, precision medicine becomes reality, and the biotech sector still lacks a manufacturing platform to commercialize the innovations coming out of the lab today.

It is redefining what we mean when we use the term "technology stack" in a health-care context, building the tech infrastructure for gene editing, stem cells, and protein, viral, and cellular engineering. ElevateBio BaseCamp, a roughly 100,000 square-foot centralized R&D and manufacturing facility, collaborates with biotech partners while also developing its own cell and gene therapies.

The company brings together the approach of a biotech start-up and a holding company, with its own science staff and drug development efforts parallel to an investment portfolio that includes T cell immunotherapy companies AlloVir and HighPass Bio, which use its manufacturing and innovation platform to research new approaches to diseases including leukemia and viruses from SARS-Cov-2 to influenza and herpes.

It also has a 10-year deal (which began in 2019) for cell and gene therapy clinical trials with the Massachusetts General Hospital, which conducts the biggest hospital-based research effort in the U.S.

More big-name investors want in on the concept. In March, the company raised $525 million in a round of venture capital that included new backers Softbank Vision Fund 2 and Fidelity Investments.

Contributed by Eric Rosenbaum

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