(Editor’s note: in April 2021, Ology Bioservices® (Ology Bio) was acquired by National Resilience, Inc. (Resilience). Peter Khoury is transitioning to a consulting role as Ology continues its work and expands the business.) Ology Bioservices® (Ology Bio) is a US-based biopharmaceutical Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) providing CGMP (and non-GMP) high quality services to our clients for the development and production of cell and gene therapies, viral vectors, oncolytic viruses and vaccines against infectious diseases and cancer. Pharma Tech Outlook reached out to Peter Khoury, Former President and CEO of Ology Bio for insight into growing the company, the biotech CMO industry, and what’s next for Ology Bio.
Ology Bio is well known for its manufacturing of vaccines and biologics. When did the company decide to expand its services to include cell and gene therapy and how was it able to do so?
“Ology Bioservices has positioned itself as the partner of choice for complicated biologics CDMO services, with a focus on cell and gene therapy. Four years ago, we started building our commercial business utilizing our facilities, our technologies, and our talented employees to take on some of the earlier stage clinical phase manufacturing in the areas of vaccines and antibodies. We have been able to leverage our experience in biologics manufacturing in oncolytic virus, live virus and vaccine production to rapidly establish and expand our cell and gene therapy (C>) capabilities. We’ve also leveraged our geographical locations to bring in talent and expertise in the areas of biologic production for C>s. Our Florida location, in the Gainesville area near the University of Florida, is an important hub for Gene Therapy research and development. Our California location is a dedicated Cell and ex vivo Gene therapy facility, located in the San Francisco Bay Area which is a well-established hub for biotechnologies and innovative start-ups. With the recent acquisition by Resilience, we’re joining an exciting, fast-growing company that is investing resources in us to increase our capabilities even more. ”
Many small biotechs are struggling to get their product to the clinic. In what way will Ology Bio impact the C> field?
“The C> market is rapidly growing and evolving from what is predominantly autologous therapies towards allogeneic therapies for which manufacturing capacity remains extremely limited, especially in the area of early phase production and testing.
Relationship management is the key to future growth. We consider customers to be part of the team and leverage the collective brilliance of everyone involved
If you look at the biologics CDMO market, there’s definitely more demand than supply. Customers can’t get CDMO space for a year or a year and a half and it slows down development time lines. We’ve just broke ground on doubling our capacity in Florida and have started our build out of a 35,500 Sq Ft cell and ex vivo gene therapy facility in California.”
What defines Ology Bio and will ensure its continued success?
“Relationship management is the key to future growth. We understand that each customer has spent their time, energy, money, blood sweat and tears, to bring their product to a certain point in the development process. When a customer first approaches us, we collect information on what their needs are, bring it to an internal team that looks at our capacity and our capabilities, then we decide if it’s a ‘good fit’ for the company and the customer, for us to take on that project. We work very closely with the customer, engaging in weekly, if not daily, conversations with them, throughout every phase of the process. We consider customer as part of the team and leverage the collective brilliance of everyone involved to resolve issues, but also to be involved with any successes we have along the way. This creates a great working relationship. It’s important to always treat customers with respect. Many of our customers come back with multiple projects after working with us for the first time.”
“Our core expertise is being a biologics developer and manufacturer. When it’s time to scale up a process, whether it’s gene therapy, cell therapy, vaccines or monoclonal antibodies, it’s truly a unique skill to be able to scale up from literally a test tube to a 2,000L bioreactor. There are so many things that change: the environment, how the cells react, etc. This is where our talented pool of employees really shines and demonstrates their expertise and use of the latest technologies. We have done very well by our customers and the customers are very happy with the results.”
“We are differentiated by: our facility, which may be one of the largest BSL-3 capable sites in the world; the technological skills of our talented teams and; our proprietary technologies such as our low passage number Vero cell platform (Veroplex®), which when combined with Univercells technology produces 10-to-100-fold more product than that seen in other manufacturing platforms. Our proprietary quail cell line has the potential to replace chicken eggs in the production of certain vaccines. These cutting-edge technologies offer an economy of scale that has the potential to bring down the cost of production. But, our most important differentiator is our relationship with our customers.”
“Now that Ology Bio is part of Resilience, the company will continue to grow and expand with additional resources and investment. It’s an exciting time for Ology Bio.”