Bionova offering speedy cell line dev ahead of biotech recovery

Industry is suffering from a dearth of funding but low-cost cell line development will support biotech when the market recovers, Bionova.

Dan Stanton, Managing editor

June 27, 2023

2 Min Read
Bionova offering speedy cell line dev ahead of biotech recovery
Bionova CEO Darren Head spoke at the BPI Theater at BIO

Industry is suffering from a dearth of early-stage funding but low-cost cell line development will allow biotech to hit the ground running when the market recovers, says Bionova.

Biotech funding has hit a low point. The record-highs of the bull market seen through the late 2010s and early 2020s has stopped short, while interest rates are high “and the once-hot biotech IPO market has crashed,” a recent market snapshot from CRO ICON state. “The quick-flowing funds that were in the market in 2021 have been bottled up by 2022, resulting in fundraises that have – after two record-setting years – dipped 24%.”

As such, talk of the troubled biotech funding environment echoed through the halls and corridors of the BIO Convention earlier this month.


Bionova CEO Darren Head spoke at the BPI Theater at BIO

“The big challenge I think everybody at the show’s talking about is the VC markets in early-stage capital is really tough right now. Valuations have really gone up a ton, where a lot of people are trying to slow down their burn and really try to get to the next level when they can actually go out and raise their next Series C or whatever capital they need,” Darren Head, CEO of biologics contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Bionova Scientific said at the event.

“We recognize that money’s tight,” he told BioProcess Insider, but firms like Bionova are able to still support the underfunded biotech space during this temporary period. “We can do things on our end to help them speed through the clinic and provide some services – not for free but for a very low cost – just to get them to the next step.”

One example he said was cell line development. “We’re able to produce cells in our cell and development group very quickly, very cheaply. So you buy six months of your time, so when the markets do start to come back, they’ll be ready to go and we’ll move on to the next thing: to put them into the product development and into manufacturing.”

Already Bionova has seen signs the sector is recovering. “I’m starting to see hints that its starting to come back. I had a conversation with another CEO last night that his Series C will close next week,” Head said. “We’re starting to see glimmers. I’m hoping by fourth quarter, we’ll start to see it really pick back up.”

Head also said Bionova has signed several deals recently, including the largest contract in Bionova’s history. When pushed, Head would not reveal the names of the clients due to confidentiality.

About the Author(s)

Dan Stanton

Managing editor

Journalist covering the international biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing industries.

Founder and editor of Bioprocess Insider, a daily news offshoot of publication Bioprocess International, with expertise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, in particular, the following niches: CROs, CDMOs, M&A, IPOs, biotech, bioprocessing methods and equipment, drug delivery, regulatory affairs and business development.

From London, UK originally but currently based in Montpellier, France through a round-a-bout adventure that has seen me live and work in Leeds (UK), London, New Zealand, and China.

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