RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Kincell Bio, a new company formed to develop and manufacture cell therapies for biotechnology companies, may be based in Florida, but it has North Carolina fingerprints all over it.

Kincell, a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), was spun out of Inceptor Bio of Morrisville and has raised $36 million in Series A venture capital led by Raleigh-based Kineticos Ventures.

The company starts business with a fully staffed manufacturing site acquired from Inceptor Bio in Gainesville, Fla., but plans to grow in the Research Triangle region and other markets where customers are based, the company said in a news release announcing its “emergence from stealth.”Kincell Bio logo

“Kincell represents a significant step forward in bridging the gap between laboratory research and clinical development of cell therapies,” said Shailesh Maingi, who will chair Kincell’s board of directors. “By addressing the manufacturing challenges faced by early stage innovators, Kincell is playing a vital role in accelerating the progress of cell therapy innovation. We are excited to support their mission to make cell therapy manufacturing more accessible and streamlined, ultimately bringing life-changing treatments to patients in need.”

Maingi founded Kineticos Ventures in 2019 as the venture capital arm of his life sciences strategy consulting firm, Kineticos Life Sciences. He founded Inceptor Bio, a developer of cell therapies against difficult-to-treat cancers, in 2020.

Maingi earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1986 and has been an adjunct professor of healthcare at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School since 2009.

Focus on immune cell therapies against cancer

Kincell will offer analytical development, process development, CMC (chemistry, manufacturing and controls) consulting and early stage GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) manufacturing focusing on immune cell therapies, including autologous and allogeneic Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) programs that engineer T cells, natural killer cells and macrophages to treat cancer.

The company also plans to establish in-house mRNA development and additional GMP manufacturing capacity while forging partnerships for viral vector and plasmid DNA supply to support cell-engineering processes.

“For early stage biotechs in CGT (cell and gene therapy), it can be difficult to access world-class development and manufacturing resources. That’s where we come in,” Maingi wrote in a LinkedIn post announcing his new role with Kincell.

The global market for cell and gene therapy manufacturing services is growing robustly. Revenue for the industry was estimated at $5.1 billion in 2022 and will reach $11.5 billion by 2027, a compound annual growth rate of 17.5%, according to a research report by the management consulting firm MarketsandMarkets.

The growth is driven largely by the prevalence of cancer, greater investments by pharmaceutical companies in new technologies to treat the disease, and manufacturing partnerships between pharmaceutical companies and CDMO companies, the report says.

CEO appointed

Kincell will be led by Chief Executive Officer Bruce Thompson, Ph.D., who will also serve on the board of directors.

Bruce T CEO
Bruce Thompson, CEO, Kincell Bio.

Thompson, a Wake Forest resident, brings over 20 years of CMC strategy, product development and cell therapy manufacturing experience, with previous cell and gene therapy manufacturing and development leadership positions at National Resilience, Lyell Immunopharma, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and Pfizer.

“Kincell is at the forefront of innovative cell therapy manufacturing, and I am honored to lead this exceptional team,” Thompson said. “Our mission is to enable early stage biotech companies to bring their life-changing therapies to patients by providing accessible and high-quality manufacturing services. With our technology-forward approach and focus on immune cell therapies, we are poised to accelerate the advancement of cell therapies from bench to bedside. I am excited about the potential impact we can make in the field and look forward to collaborating with our partners to drive innovation and improve patients’ lives.”

(C) N.C. Biotech Center