CBRE Helps Launch Game-Changing Biomanufacturing Facility For Hamilton
September 7, 2022 3 Minute Read
OmniaBio Inc., a Canadian cell and gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), has unveiled plans for a new $580 million biomanufacturing facility in Hamilton.
The company will take more than 85,000 sq. ft. at McMaster Innovation Park (MIP), in a deal brokered by CBRE’s Daniel Lacey and his team.
OmniaBio will anchor a biomanufacturing centre of excellence that will open in three phases between 2024 and 2026. The first phase includes a two-level facility equipped with 15 clean rooms and staffed by 500 employees.
“This a very big deal for the life sciences sector,” says Lacey. “This project will be a catalyst for the growth of the life sciences sector in the GTHA. This large manufacturing facility is expected to spur biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to locate at MIP in Hamilton.
“This is a significant step to build up our country’s health and life sciences capacity.”
OmniaBio will anchor a biomanufacturing centre of excellence.
Sorely Needed Space
The custom-designed OmniaBio facility, with 24’ clear height ceilings on the ground floor to accommodate biomanufacturing, will be Canada's first commercial-scale CDMO dedicated to cell and gene therapies.
A CDMO serves pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on a contract basis to provide drug development and manufacturing services, allowing startups and larger organizations to focus on discovery while leveraging CDMO expertise, efficiency and speed, rather than assuming the large costs, long timelines, employee training and execution risks associated with in-house scale-up, scale-out and GMP-compliant manufacturing.
The OmniaBio facility’s second floor has an additional 26,000 sq. ft. of research and development space, which has yet to be leased. But not for long.
“This project is generating significant interest because of its timing,” says Lacey, who recently co-authored a report showing that only 0.2% of lab space is vacant across the 12.3 million sq. ft. of inventory in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, with demand for more than 3.5 million sq. ft. of space as of the first half of 2022.
This demand exceeds currently available space by a factor of 141. Over half of that demand (1.9 million sq. ft.) is for research and development space, with the remaining requirements (1.7 million sq. ft.) seeking a facility for manufacturing.
“All the research and development companies we speak to need space now, in order to deploy their venture capital funding and advance their research,” Lacey says. “So it’s essential that we deliver this building as fast possible.”
OmniaBio is being spun out of the Toronto-based Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), a leader in developing and commercializing regenerative medicine-based technologies and cell and gene therapies.
"OmniaBio Inc. will be a game changer, leveraging more than a decade of development and manufacturing expertise at CCRM,” says the organization’s chair Dr. Michael May. “We look forward to providing supportive services and infrastructure to domestic, US-based and international clients in need of our expertise.”
OmniaBio will build on CCRM's existing global client base, with the Hamilton project aiming to create a six-fold increase in the region’s cell and gene therapy biomanufacturing capacity.
“OmniaBio is focused on the unique needs of cell and gene therapy companies across our key platforms in IPSC line creation and editing, immunotherapy and lentiviral vector,” said Mitchel Sivilotti OmniaBio’s President and CEO. “We have been thoughtful about how we provide a rapid and dependable logistics experience throughout North America, a critical need met by our locations in Hamilton and Toronto.”
Ontario's life sciences sector is the largest in Canada, and comprises about 1,900 firms employing around 66,000 people. Sivilotti notes that this population of highly trained professionals will be leveraged in the skills development of the next generation of Canada’s life science experts.
“While cell and gene therapy manufacturing capacity is currently underserved,” he says, “the foundation for Canada to have a profound impact in biomanufacturing is clearly in place and gearing up for growth.”
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