Former Alexion CEO Hallal makes comeback at cell therapy holding firm ElevateBio

Massachusetts holding company ElevateBio has launched with $150m in initial funding from a range of investors on a mission to build a portfolio of cell and gene therapy companies.

The biotech is headed by former Alexion CEO David Hallal, with support from some former bluebird bio executives, and has a business model designed to build cell and gene therapy companies with single products, or a portfolio of several products.

Founders will get access to scientists, manufacturing facilities, drug development and marketing expertise.

The company’s subsidiary BaseCamp will provide R&D, process and development and manufacturing support for all companies in the ElevateBio portfolio.

ElevateBio has just closed a $150 million series A financing deal co-led by the UBS Oncology Impact Fund, managed by MPM Capital and FT Ventures, joined by EcoR1 Capital, Redmile Group, and Samsara BioCapital.

It is set to announce the group of biotechs that will make up its initial portfolio in the coming weeks.

David Hallal

Hallal’s comeback as head of ElevateBio comes around two and a half years after he stepped down as CEO of Alexion amid a controversy over sales practices for its Soliris rare diseases blockbuster.

After reportedly losing the confidence of Alexion’s board, he quit in December 2016, citing personal reasons.

Vikas Sinha, who stepped down as Alexion’s CFO at the same time, is ElevateBio’s chief financial officer.

Mitchell Finer, former chief scientific officer at CAR-T trailblazer bluebird bio, is also on board in the same role.

Founding investors Ansbert Gadicke, co-founder of ElevateBio’s incubator firm MPM Capital and Morana Jovan-Embiricos, managing partner of F2 Ventures, are on the board of Directors. Oleg Nodelman, founder and managing director, EcoR1, serves as a board observer.

Hallal said: “A foundational element of our scientific, clinical and financial strategy is ElevateBio BaseCamp, which is our single R&D, process development and manufacturing company that supports our portfolio companies and a select group of strategic partners that will benefit from our expertise and facilities.

“We look forward to announcing our initial portfolio companies and strategic partners in the coming weeks.”

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