CoJourney to Open CDMO for Cell and Gene Therapies at Spring House Innovation Park in Montgomery County
By Chris Frew
July 17, 2023
After the close of a $30M Series A financing, CoJourney Inc. a Chinese innovator in the manufacturing and development of cell and gene therapies, has announced the expansion of its US organization and commercial manufacturing capabilities with a new facility to be located at Spring House Innovation Park in Montgomery County.
The recent funding round was led by Legend Capital, with additional participation by GL Ventures, Legend Star Investment Management, and Lake Bleu Capital. CoJourney has developed high-efficiency processes to support end-to-end custom development and manufacturing for genetic medicines, including plasmids, viral vectors, and mRNA.
“I am proud of the highly innovative CDMO platform that CoJourney has built. Our streamlined manufacturing processes and state-of-the-art quality systems and industry-leading cost structure will allow us to deliver the highest-purity products to our clients with unprecedented turnaround times and cost structure. We believe this is the new model for cell and gene therapy CDMOs,” stated Lijun Wang, CEO, CoJourney Inc.
The company’s 130,000-square-foot state-of-the-art cGMP manufacturing facilities in China include 500L and 2,000L disposable bioreactors for viral vectors and 30L disposable fermenters for plasmids. The new springhouse labs are said to support plasmid process development and are expected to further expand into manufacturing in the future.
“We are now at a pivotal stage in our company’s journey where we can become true strategic partners for our clients, helping them in their journey to advance innovative genetic medicines from early product development to clinical trial volumes and commercial scale manufacturing. We truly believe that we are embarking on a “co-journey” with our clients,” Wang shared.
Spring House Innovation Park (SHIP), located in Lower Gwynedd, PA, is developed and managed by a joint venture: MRA Group and Beacon Capital Partners (Beacon).
Several other tenants of the park (which occupies a 78,000-square-foot lab building on the campus) include Seres Therapeutics with 7,000 square feet, Tavotek Biotherapeutics with 4,000 square feet, and FlowMetric, a contract research organization with 26,000 square feet.
The suburban campus has attracted other international tenants such as international cancer diagnostics biotechnology firm AnPac Bio which leased a 6,724-square-foot space to establish its U.S. corporate headquarters in October 2019, and Exegenesis Bio, a clinical-stage cell and gene therapy company with operations in Hangzhou, China. Exegenesis and CoJourney share several key employees so there appears to be a relationship between the two companies, but none has been confirmed by either company.
Other companies like Cognizance Biomarkers, ChromaTan, and Evol Science have chosen to migrate from their urban roots in places like University City to the suburban campus. The park is also home to the Thomas Jefferson University bioprocessing institute which means that companies have close access to training resources and also a pipeline of new talent.
CoJourney will be joining several existing cell and gene therapy CDMOs that are located in the greater Philadelphia region, including the Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CBM) which is located in King of Prussia, as well as WuXi Advanced Therapies and VintaBio which are both at the Navy Yard. LucasPye Bio is also planning to create a bio-manufacturing campus in Southwest Philadelphia.
With development and manufacturing capacity challenges still facing the industry, CoJourney becomes the latest CDMO to choose Philly as the place to deliver on some of that capacity.
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Over the past 11 years, Chris has grown BioBuzz into a respected brand that is recognized for its community building, networking events and news stories about the local biotech industry. In addition, he runs a Recruiting and Marketing Agency that helps companies attract top talent through a blended model that combines employer branding and marketing services together with a high powered recruiting solution.