CDMO IriSys signs contract worth up to $14.4m

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San Diego-based contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) has signed a drug product development, manufacture, and stability studies contract.

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded the contract. The contract is worth up to $14.4m and runs from August 1, 2017 through July 31, 2022.

Capacity-wise, Gerald Yakatan, CEO of IriSys told us the company is fine right now. “We’re constantly increasing our capacity,” he said.

Noting the company’s previous government contracts, Yakatan said that the contracts provide a steady base business, though much of its work is with start-up to mid-tier biotech companies.

“We like the government [contracts] because it’s a little more predictable,” he said. This predictability is also why the company has expanded its services into commercial manufacturing.

In April, IriSys was awarded an increase to its five-year prime vendor contract, which was awarded by the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Developmental Therapeutics Program (DTP) of the Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis (DCTD). The contract is worth up to $6m.

The company also expanded its services into regulatory advising and opened a business development office in Shanghai last year. “We’re seeing that as an important part of our business, especially in Asia,” explained Yaktan.

Looking ahead

To make the next “big steps” moving forward, the company engaged in strategic planning, Yaktan said. Specifically, he explained that IriSys will explore expanding its commercial manufacturing capabilities and wants to look seriously at injectables manufacturing.

We have a lot of experience with doing our clinical work and we think we could step up one more level and get into small volume injectable manufacturing,” he said.

Additionally, in response to the recent deluge of industry consolidation, Yakatan said he has been using this to IriSys’ benefit, touting the company’s size as a benefit to the smaller biotech and pharma companies it targets.

What we’re saying is you should work with people that are more your size because you mean more to us, and you’re working with very experienced people,” he said.

We’re happy to continue growing the way we are,” he added – though acquisitions are not out of the question.

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