Yposkesi welcomes SK Group as new majority equity shareholder, forging solid industrial partnership for growth.
Corbeil-Essonnes, (Paris), France, March 31, 2021 – Yposkesi, a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation (CDMO) focusing on producing gene therapy drugs, today announces a new chapter in its development by welcoming the SK Group as a new majority equity shareholder in its company, alongside legacy shareholders, AFM-Telethon and Bpifrance. By forging a solid industrial partnership, Yposkesi will strengthen its production capabilities at its site in Corbeil-Essonnes (near Paris), France, in order to meet growing demand for gene therapy treatments for rare and common diseases. The company will strengthen its ability to innovate and develop processes to the benefit of its clients.
Since its founding in 2016 by AFM-Telethon and Bpifrance’s SPI fund (Industrial Projects Companies fund), Yposkesi has sought to reinforce its industrial strategy in a highly competitive international environment:
- By benefiting from the industrial and commercial expertise of a global player in technological innovation, to achieve productivity gains and reduce the cost of producing gene therapy drugs, in order to deliver them in larger quantities and to facilitate access to these drugs for the greatest number of patients
- By doubling the production capacity at the Corbeil-Essonnes site to meet the growing need for gene therapy GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) in manufactured viral vectors
The SK Group’s strong desire to invest in gene therapy biomanufacturing offers a number of advantages to support Yposkesi: the vision to accelerate innovation, the technological expertise to complement Yposkesi’s skillset and an established international status as a Contract Manufacturing Organisation (CMO). SK pharmteco, the SK Group’s US-based holding company for the CMO business, currently operates six sites across the U.S., Ireland and South Korea and has as its clients numerous multinational pharmaceutical companies as well as biotech start-ups. The SK Group will be making its equity investment into Yposkesi through SK pharmteco.
As a French company, Yposkesi remains dedicated to the corporate aim put in place when it was founded, specifically to produce innovative therapeutic drugs to treat patients living with rare and common diseases. Yposkesi will play a major role in the French bioproduction sector, supplementing the sector with increased expertise and industrial capacity. The SK Group holds a 70% share in Yposkesi, while the founding shareholders will have an equity holding of 25% for H-MRB (AFM-Telethon/Genethon/CECS) and 5% for Bpifrance. They will both be involved in decisions made by the board of directors.
“The involvement of the SK Group in Yposkesi marks a new chapter in the development of the production platform that we created more than four years ago. It will enable production capacity to double at the Corbeil-Essonnes site and will strengthen its capabilities in terms of technological innovation, thus accelerating the industrialisation of gene therapies, a global challenge in which Yposkesi will play a major role,” said Frederic Revah, chief executive of Genethon and president of H-MRB (AFM-Téléthon/Genethon/CECS). “For AFM-Telethon and Genethon, this ensures that the Corbeil-Essonnes site will continue to have the necessary production capacity to meet the needs of our clinical trials for rare diseases, but also with a view to making these treatments available to large numbers of patients, following approval. We are delighted that gene therapy for rare genetic diseases that we have driven and supported for so many years, is now of interest to new international players and that the tools that we have developed, like those at Yposkesi, are recognised worldwide for their excellence.”
“The industrial partnership between Yposkesi and the SK Group is very balanced and highly ambitious, helping to pursue and expand Yposkesi’s initial objectives and those of its founding shareholders: successfully treating patients on the one hand and maintaining production capacity in France on the other,” said Magali Joëssel, director of Bpifrance’s SPI fund. “This new chapter will allow Yposkesi to participate in the flourishing French bioproduction sector, by increasing the industrial infrastructure available, ensuring the retention of critical skills, while also developing its global reach and France’s economic appeal.”
“The SK Group is excited to enter the gene and cell therapy business and looks forward to the many new opportunities that this presents,” added Dong Hyun Jang, chief executive officer of SK Inc. “We have full confidence in the capability and potential of Yposkesi and we are certain that it will be a great addition to our CMO business. The SK Group strives to create social values as a corporate objective, therefore it understands well the founding principles of Yposkesi. With the help of our other shareholders, we look forward to developing Yposkesi into a world-class CMO.”
Yposkesi is a leading Contract Development & Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) for gene therapy vector manufacturing. Created in November 2016 in Corbeil-Essonnes (France) by AFM-Telethon and the SPI fund managed by Bpifrance, Yposkesi provides integrated services covering bioprocess development (USP & DSP) from small/pilot to large-scale production, analytical development, GMP manufacturing of lentiviral and AAV vectors and regulatory support. Its current facility consists of a 50,000ft2 (approx. 5,000m2) building, operating multiple manufacturing suites for bulk drug substance and Fill & Finish. By 2022, Yposkesi will increase its global footprint to 100,000ft2 (approx. 10,000m2) with a second large-scale facility designed for EMA and FDA compliance. Capitalizing on the more than 25 years’ expertise of Genethon, Yposkesi invests significantly in innovation in bioprocessing to deliver on high-quality projects, cost-effectively.
SK Inc. is an Investment-oriented holding company of the SK Group, overseeing the operations of over 124 subsidiaries and affiliates. Its major subsidiaries include SK Innovation (Petroleum), SK Telecom (Telecommunication), SK Networks (Trading & Energy), SK E&S (Gas), among others. Its current investment focus is on four major areas, namely biopharmaceuticals, materials, green energy, and digital business. SK Inc. is also leading the way in ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) management with its active involvement in various efforts to develop renewable energy, protect the environment, and help the vulnerable groups of society (who suffer from undernourishment). The SK Group started contract manufacturing business in chemical drug substances in 1996. After acquiring BMS’s facility in Ireland in 2017 and AMPAC Fine Chemicals in the U.S. in 2018, it created SK pharmteco in 2019 as a U.S. – based consolidated entity of the CMO business. SK pharmteco currently provides integrated contract manufacturing services through its six sites spread across the U.S., Ireland, and S. Korea. With the addition of Yposkesi, SK pharmteco has now expanded its business portfolio from chemical to biologics and is poised to become a major player in the global CMO industry.
About AFM-Telethon / Genethon
AFM-Telethon is an association of patients and their parents, founded on the principal and desire to treat rare diseases, which for long have been considered incurable. The association has successfully created its own research laboratories, notably Genethon, a pioneer in gene therapy for rare disorders. Genethon, a world-renowned non-profit research and development institution, is currently running close to 15 clinical-stage gene therapy programs, as well as preclinical research in neuromuscular diseases, the immune system, eye and blood disorders and liver diseases. As part of these developments and to respond to the growing need for GMP manufactured viral vectors, AFM-Telethon and its laboratories in partnership with the French national bank Bpifrance created Yposkesi, an industrial manufacturing platform for gene therapy vectors, in 2016.
www.afmtelethon.fr (French only)
Bpifrance is the French national investment bank: it finances businesses – at every stage of their development – through loans, guarantees, equity investments and export insurances. Bpifrance also provides extra financial services (training, consultancy) to help entrepreneurs meet their challenges (innovation, export…).