Wheeler Bio Announces Closing of $31 Million Series A Round Supporting its Clinical (CGMP) Drug Substance Manufacturing Facility in Oklahoma City14 April 2023
VANCOUVER, British Columbia & LONDON, March 22, 2023 – Wheeler Bio, Inc., a boutique contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) specializing in process development and small batch CGMP production of therapeutic antibodies, announced the closing of their Series A financing round. The round was co-led by Charles River Laboratories (NYSE:CRL) and Echo with participation from ATUM, Floating Point Advisors, Pine Ridge Ventures, Plains Venture Partners (a subsidiary of i2E), Seagull Capital, and Alloy Therapeutics.
Wheeler Bio is building a disruptive CDMO model that is changing the paradigm for the gene-to-IND supply chain. Their primary service offering, Portable CMC™, is an open source “CMC middleware” that delivers speed, efficiency, predictability, and freedom to operate by integrating discovery CROs and CDMOs and effectively bridging the translational gap.
Portable CMC™ includes a full complement of integrated development services, including manufacturability assessments, stable pool and clone development, process and analytical method development, process demonstration, and technology transfer into CGMP production. In addition, their platform enhances key business integrations that speed up the translational steps for their clients while lowering technical, regulatory, and business risks.
“Wheeler is at the forefront of phase-appropriate CMC drug development programming. We serve clients and partners with cutting-edge development services, including Portable CMC™,” said Dr. Jesse McCool, Co-Founder and CEO at Wheeler Bio. “The Series A validates our thesis that developers of next-gen therapeutic proteins want access to more focused development and manufacturing resources with high agility and small batch sizes to be successful. We are intentionally staying inside of the box.”
The company will use the Series A funds to complete its state-of-the-art CGMP cell banking and drug substance manufacturing facility (500 L scale) in The Ziggurat, a downtown Oklahoma City office tower. The first CGMP production batches in the new facility will commence in Q3 of this year.
Dr. Brian Berquist, Chief Development Officer at Wheeler Bio said, “Wheeler is laser-focused on translational CMC while solving for clients’ timelines and budgets along the way to first-in-human studies. Our platform reduces risk by enhancing product and process knowledge gained using well-integrated tools, technologies, and digital solutions like Leap-In Transposase®, Solentim®, Ambr® Microbioreactors, DynaDrive Single-Use Bioreactors, the Synthace Experiment Platform, and DataHowLab.”
“Wheeler Bio’s advancements and continued growth embody Echo’s aim to reestablish American manufacturing jobs, reinforce critical industries, and solve problems for coastal companies by connecting overlooked domestic resources,” said Christian Kanady, Co-Founder at Wheeler Bio and Founding Partner at Echo. “Alongside respected partners, Wheeler Bio is connecting Oklahoma City with the global industry, accelerating drug development, and unlocking our region’s comparative advantages.”
Oklahoma City (OKC) has long been a hub of production, distribution, and business services. Key advantages include consistently lower business costs, a ready biomanufacturing workforce, a world-class training network of 16 technology centers, 18 public and private universities, major medical and aerospace research centers, “shovel ready” sites with interstate, rail, and runway access, and special incentives. In addition, OKC was recently awarded $35M by the U.S. Economic Development Administration to advance the emerging bioeconomy, including specific funding for biomanufacturing workforce development and bioprocessing core labs.
That’s Nice LLC provided M&A advisory services to Wheeler Bio for the Series A Round.