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Biotech

SK invests $350 mn in US CDMO firm

The conglomerate is on track to have industry bases in Europe, North America, and Asia by 2025

By Jan 10, 2022 (Gmt+09:00)

Aerial view of Discovery Labs, which houses The Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CBM)
Aerial view of Discovery Labs, which houses The Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CBM)


SK Inc., the holding company of SK Group, announced Sunday that it invested $350 million into Pennsylvania-based Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CBM.)

With the latest investment, SK became the second-largest stakeholder of the US gene therapy company. The company’s founder Brian O’Neill remains its No.1 shareholder and the Executive Chairman of the Board.

SK did not disclose the specific ownership percentage. 

Established in 2019, CBM boasts research and development capabilities for the entire process of developing cell and gene therapies. The company is capable of producing plasmid DNA as well as viral vectors. The former is a key material in genetic biotechnology; and the latter is a tool used to inject the genetic material into cells. 

The gene and cell therapy market is forecast to grow 25% per year through the end of 2025, according to a Deloitte report cited by SK. By region, the US is the world’s largest such market. 

Eight months prior, SK acquired a 70 percent stake in France-based contract development and manufacturing compant (CDMO) company Yposkesi, which also specializes in the field of gene and cell therapy.

Just three months after the acquisition, SK announced it will inject 58 million euro (78.7 billion won) to expand its production capabilities. Once the facilities upgrade is complete, Yposkesi will become Europe’s biggest maker of gene and cell therapy treatments. 

Lee Dong-hoon, head of the Bio Investment Center at SK said, “[We] plan to create synthetic and biopharmaceutical business bases across the United States, Europe and Asia by 2025.” 

Write to Jae-young Han at jyhan@hankyung.com

Jee Abbey Lee edited this article.

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