With the San Diego Blood Bank at its foundation and funding in hand, Excellos launches in the cell therapy contract manufacturing sector.

Dan Stanton, Managing editor

January 25, 2022

3 Min Read
Excellos: ‘There is no better time to enter cell therapy CDMO space’
Image: Stock Photo Secrets

With the San Diego Blood Bank at its foundation and $15 million of funding in hand, Excellos launches itself in the cell therapy contract manufacturing sector. 

A new contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) has arisen in San Diego, California this week: Excellos Incorporated, which officially launched on the back of $15 million in growth funding from Telegraph Hill Partners (THP). 

The new entity — announced during Phacilitate’s Advanced Therapies Week conference in Miami, Florida — already has an operational cGMP manufacturing facility for Advanced Therapies but according to CEO David Wellis it now brings in scientific and cell manipulation expertise to support the development of investigational cellular products through to commercialization by leveraging the San Diego Blood Bank (SDBB) and its network of collection centers, as well as the public cord blood bank.


Image: Stock Photo Secrets

“The launch of Excellos creates a single commercial entity backed by the resources and infrastructure of the San Diego Blood Bank. This allows for direct focus on providing world class products and services to the cell and gene therapy industry,” he told BioProcess Insider

“With a donor base of 70,000 individuals and nine collection centers, coupled with two state-of-the-art cGMP cleanrooms in San Diego, Excellos provides a full suite of end-to-end services to support the cell and gene therapy industries and is implementing dual shifts in order to maximize capacity.” 

According to Wellis, the entity has been incubating with SDBB and is already working directly with advanced therapy companies, but now is the right time to become a fully-fledged CDMO. 

“There could not be a better time to expand as the cell and gene therapy industry has seen huge and sustained levels of growth in the last decade,” he said, citing the Association for Regenerative Medicine (ARM)’s recent report stating there were 2,648 clinical trials on-going worldwide in the space in 2021. Furthermore, the report says the total number of developers has increased 23% in the US since 2018, and 119% in the Asia Pacific region. 

“This dramatic growth is driving a huge surge in the demand for, and complexity of, the critical human cells and tissues required by the industry in order to support research, development, and commercialization of new products.” 

Services and competition 

Excellos’ services include apheresis and cord blood collection; autologous and allogeneic collections; production of large cell banks through isolation, genetic modification, separation, and expansion; Storage and transport. However, Wellis told us the company will be expanding to offer viral gene transduction of T cells, CAR-T cell development and expansion, and generation of master cell banks and clinical product lots in the near future. 

“The $15 million growth capital will be used to expand our analytical capabilities, build at least four additional clean rooms, and grow the team, all while accessing additional leased space that keeps us within the same building as SDBB. This close proximity will allow for flexible manufacturing and same day isolations to maximize the viability of the clinical material we process.” 

This is the latest investment in the cell and gene therapy CDMO space. However, other CDMOs like Lonza, Fujifilm and even the relaunched Dendreon have a relatively long history in the sector, while the likes of Thermo Fisher and Catalent have bought their way into the space through billion-dollar-plus deals. Thus we asked Wellis what will make Excellos stand out from its peers. 

“We will be intimately connected to an almost unlimited supply of biospecimens and raw starting material for the development of cell, gene and immunotherapies. Excellos pairs this extraordinary resource with deep characterization, both of the donor and of the isolated cellular product (functionally and metabolically), setting a new standard across the industry. 

“A CDMO that provides characterization across the continuum is a unique offering that we believe will optimize the manufacturing of more effective therapies. Offering this combination of resources to early-stage companies will enable them to move to the clinic and early-stage trials faster than ever before.” 

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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