Our mission is to accelerate the delivery and affordability of lifesaving and life-changing therapies from discovery to commercialization by providing one source for process development, plasmid and viral vector production, analytical testing, cell bioprocessing, platform IP, and the space to operate.
The Only Complete Solution for the Discovery, Development, and Commercialization of Cell and Gene Therapies.
30 CELL THERAPY SUITES
10 VIRAL VECTOR LINES
10 PLASMID SUITES
2 CELL BANKING SUITES
20 TESTING SUITES
20 PROCESS AND ANALYTICAL DEVELOPMENT SUITES
We are committed to enabling the future of cell and gene therapies on a one million square foot campus in the heart of the Cellicon Valley, King of Prussia / Philadelphia, PA.
Virtual Tour of 411 Swedeland Road, King of Prussia PA
Make The Discovery Labs your home…Unite. Discover. Manufacture. Breakthrough.
What Makes Us Different
The Center for Breakthrough Medicines is a seamless multi-point tech transfer facility, enabling your research to safely transition in to our CDMO without risk or compromise.
- The Discovery Labs Center for Breakthrough Medicines provides instant capacity as the largest and most advanced, single-source for pre-clinical through commercial manufacturing in cell and gene therapy on one campus.
- We collaborate with the premier scientists in industry and academia to ensure that we are providing the foremost innovation for our customers and the patients they treat.
- Focused on reducing the time, complexity, and cost of the commercialization of lifesaving and life-changing cell therapies and viral vectors, making cures to diseases and genetic disorders scalable, affordable, and readily available to the patients who need them.
- We provide end-to-end management of your therapeutic manufacturing, allowing your organization to continue the focused pursuit of groundbreaking therapies.
- We offer clients cGMP compliant development, manufacturing, and testing services by recruiting and retaining the finest applied research, development, and manufacturing science and technology (MS&T) talent in the world to drive discovery, innovation, and timely execution.
- Our cell therapy processing and viral vector suites are fully compliant with FDA and EMA standards.
- We offer the latest cutting edge equipment, custom calibrated to meet your quality specifications and all compliance requirements.
- Our cleanrooms offer flexibility to meet various client-specific workflows and equipment configurations.
- The Center for Breakthrough Medicines is committed to manufacturing new therapies under cGMP conditions and the safe, ethical management of the patient as they progress through first in human trials.
- The Center for Breakthrough Medicines incorporates traditional Contract Research Organization (CRO) services with Contract Development Manufacturing Organization services under one umbrella to bring a highly differentiated offering to the marketplace.
- Our contract research services provide the full scope of clinical trial management needs to effectively recruit and treat patients.
Unite IQ, in partnership with Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, and the Science University of Experiential Learning at The Discovery Labs is a place to learn, collaborate, present, discover, and grow.
- Unite IQ offers immediate space to emerging biotech companies with the ability to graduate from a startup to enterprise company on one campus. Whether you are two scientists and a bench, a visiting professor from out of town, or a growing Life Sciences company, our incubator and accelerator space at Unite IQ provides you a comprehensive home with every resource needed to operate your business.
- Unite IQ hosts the Science University of Experiential Learning where we partner with high schools, colleges and universities to create the highly-skilled workforce of tomorrow needed to supply the demand of this exploding industry.
- Unite IQ provides research and development laboratories, shared equipment resources, on-site supplies, grant writing and submission services, business planning, and a showcase for financial capital providers associated with The Discovery Labs.
- Unite IQ tenants utilize the development, testing, and manufacturing capabilities of the Center for Breakthrough Medicines with seamless forward integration of processes and analytics.
- The Discovery Labs provides a fully-zoned, fully-equipped research facility to conduct preclinical studies with research models.
- We provide curated programming, events and the ability to connect, collaborate, and unite across the Discovery Labs network in the Unite IQ conference center and auditorium with fully-catered meeting and presentation space for up to 1,000 people.
Come Discover With Us
The Discovery Labs is establishing THE COLONY which will provide custom built discovery labs, breakthrough funding, sponsored research agreements, housing and relocation for the world’s leading iconic experts in cell and gene therapy.
THE COLONY will seek to work hand in hand with scientists from both academic and pharmaceutical institutions to unlock and expedite groundbreaking therapies.
The ability for the industry’s greatest scientists to cohabitate, collaborate, cooperate, and communicate via technology and in person will create an exponential therapeutic “X FACTOR.” THE COLONY seeks to unlock institutional barriers prohibiting the world’s greatest scientists from moving at a pace necessary in today’s ever-changing therapeutic revolution. THE COLONY will partner with the institutions where the scientists currently work by providing equity, license fees, and revenue sharing.
One of the industry’s largest teams of process development scientists work side-by-side with the client’s subject matter experts to optimize upstream and downstream processes intended for robust cGMP manufacturing of viral vectors at appropriate scale, and the bioprocessing of autologous and allogeneic cellular therapies such as CAR-T cells, TILs, TCRs and regenerative medicine cellular products.
Analytical Method Development and Testing
To complement manufacturing operations, The Center for Breakthrough Medicines provides extensive laboratories and qualified/validated methods for the analysis of plasmid DNA, viral vectors and cellular therapies. Analytical method development in parallel with process development and technology transfer activities is required to provide the most rapid progress of GMP manufacturing programs. Methodologies optimized in analytical development are transferred upon successful completion to established core testing laboratories (flow cytometry, molecular biology,biochemistry, biosafety, etc.) for routine application in the in-process and quality control lot release required for disposition of the final plasmid, vector or cell therapy product.
The Center for Breakthrough Medicines offers 10 research and GMP grade plasmid production suites with the manufacturing capacity and capability to fit the specifications of individual clients for pre-clinical, clinical and commercial scale production. Our complete array of plasmid manufacturing services provides every resource necessary to bring your project to a patient-ready product for vector development or gene editing. We can accommodate batch sizes from research to preclinical and GMP scale up to 2000L.
Adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors play a central role in the delivery of gene therapies and as a vehicle for gene editing approaches such as CRISPR-Cas9. The Center for Breakthrough Medicines offers 20 production suites with a full range of AAV production scales and platforms to serve the research, preclinical, clinical and commercial manufacturing demands for these vectors. Viral packaging at small scale using transient transfection of HEK 293 cells in either adherent or suspension platforms is available for discovery research, proof of concept, and early clinical manufacturing. Large-scale production in single-use bioreactors is available utilizing transient transfection of HEK 293 cells or HeLa cells utilizing a helper virus. A proprietary cell line and optimized transfection conditions are employed to ensure high titres of AAV for many of the commonly utilized AAV serotypes. Additionally, Baculovirus-based production of AAV utilizing insect cell culture (Sf9 cells) is available for use in large scale production. Process optimization is undertaken to determine the best conditions for manufacturing of the client-specific vector and gene of interest in all platforms. Downstream purification processing with large scale column chromatography ensures that vector product yields and purity are optimized to meet the stringent quality standards anticipated by U.S. and international regulatory agencies.
Lentiviral and retroviral vectors, by virtue of their relatively large payload capacity and the capability to transfect dividing and non-dividing cells are at the forefront of CAR-T cell development and may also serve as stand-alone vectors for gene therapy. 20 production suites provide available platforms for production of lentiviral vectors including the transfection of 293T cells in adherent culture (CellStacks or HyperStacks) with larger-scale, closed-system manufacturing utilizing a proprietary producer line in suspension culture with single-use bioreactors for production. Production scales range from 10L up to 2,000L. Media and cell culture optimization are undertaken to ensure high yields. Downstream processing consists of filtration, chromatographic purification and sterile filtration to ensure for the removal of process contaminants and residuals. In addition to large-scale downstream processing equipment, harvest optimization and cryopreservative formulation development are available to optimize the infectious titre of the vector.
Through the Center for Breakthrough Medicines’ dedication to quality and our expertise, we provide the flexibility of multiple GMP Adenovirus production strategies to produce high titre adenovirus for gene therapy projects or for use as potential oncolytic viral agent. Process development and manufacturing resources are available in 20 production suites to meet your individual needs, providing the integrated resources necessary to bring your project to clinical reality in an efficient and expedient manner.
The Center for Breakthrough Medicines at The Discovery Labs is a seamless multi-point tech transfer facility, enabling your research to safely transition into our CDMO without risk or compromise. We provide process development, manufacturing, pharma-quality laboratories and offices for advanced therapies companies.
The Center for Breakthrough Medicines supplies clients with large-scale capacity to manufacture Master Cell Banks (MCB), Working Cell Banks (WCB), Master Viral Banks (MVB), and Working Viral Banks (WVB). This manufacturing process meets global cGMP regulatory standards and guidelines to guarantee research and clinical grade production. Our cell banking team is capable of producing up to 1,000-vial cell banks in cGMP-compliant suites. Standard release criteria support documentation such as viability and sterility are provided with our services.
The Center for Breakthrough Medicines offers experienced staff and 36 flexible manufacturing suites to accommodate innovative advanced therapies workflows and equipment configurations. For autologous products, we employ the most sophisticated scheduling, supply chain and inventory control, in-process testing, quality control, and lot release systems on the market to overcome the inherent manufacturing challenges. Many cell therapy products are composed of ex-vivo patient derived starting materials which create variation in the clinical development pathway for these products. The Center for Breakthrough Medicines offers flexibility in the unit operations and procedures required to accommodate these products on a client-specific basis. For allogeneic products, manufacturing operations employing well-characterized cell banks may be scaled-up to meet the clinical and commercial demand employing both adherent systems (e.g. CellSTACKS®, HYPERStacks®) as well as single-use bioreactors for production of cell products at significant scale. These collective resources permit the progress of cell therapy manufacturing from clinical to commercial within a single facility without time lost in technology transfer from site to site.
Our manufacturing capabilities include but are not limited to the following:
- Autologous and Allogeneic CAR-T cells
- Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs)
- Enhanced T-Cell receptors (TCRs)
- Stem cell therapies and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)
- Tumor cell vaccines
- Dendritic cell and NK cell adoptive Immunotherapies
Contract Research Services and Clinical Trials Management
The Center for Breakthrough Medicines contract research package provides support for first in-human trials by collaboratively drafting clinical protocols, IND applications, data safety monitoring plans, biostatistics, case report form creation for the capture of primary and secondary endpoints, access to a CTMS, electronic trial master file management (eTMF), PV-AE safety reporting and the full gamut of clinical trial management needs to effectively recruit and treat patients. The complete visibility of an asset’s clinical development pathway from early discovery to first in-human trial is a novel concept for outsourced pharma services.
Our team of experts ensures all GCP measures are met to ensure safety, compliance, and determination of clinical benefit or intended efficacy. We provide clinical staff, regulatory support, monitors, auditors, project managers, biostatisticians and data specialists to ensure the most secure and highest quality experience possible during the patients’ journey through the clinical trial.
Molecular Diagnostics and Immunology Research
The Discovery Labs has scaled up to form Testing Centers of America (TCA). The affiliate is located at The Innovation 411 site in King of Prussia, PA. TCA will serve as a center of excellence providing high throughput analysis supporting research and epidemiological studies critical to industry, academic and government clients. Offering a broad array of molecular, genetic and immunological test methods, TCA is able to rapidly process samples and develop data sets to establish an understanding of the human immune response to disease, potential biomarkers, and diagnostic tools which may be applied to foster health care and public health policy.
In fulfilling its mission to further research and public health, TCA employs cutting edge automation and molecular testing platforms to enable the efficient processing and analysis of samples on a monthly basis. Rigid protocols and processes ensure that chain of identity is maintained for all samples analyzed and results are collected and transferred in electronic format immediately following quality control verification to the client or agency sponsor.
The Discovery Labs
King of Prussia
Located in the heart of the Cellicon Valley, where cell and gene therapy was invented. 1.6 million square feet of CDMO, research and development, administrative offices, dining, daycare, and fitness amenities. Each building is connected by internal floor to ceiling glass corridors and separated by indoor and outdoor atriums providing world-class, employee-centric, inspirational, collaborative space needed to recruit and retain the finest talent. Our site is capable of adding up to 4 million square feet of expansion space to accommodate every growing need of our clients ON LOCATION. Our 640,000 Square foot Innovation Renaissance campus provides build-out and collaboration opportunities and is currently occupied by the finest life science organizations in the world. Our entire campus is supported by an extensive array of infrastructure which provides 100% backed-up systems. Most importantly our campus is IN PLACE TODAY ready to be customized for your specific needs.
The Discovery Labs Appoints President and COO
The Discovery Labs has appointed Joerg Ahlgrimm to the senior leadership position of president and chief operating officer.
Ahlgrimm will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of The Discovery Labs. Central to his responsibilities will be oversight of all operations for the Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CBM) and Testing Centers of America (TCA) – two core Discovery Labs platform companies. This mission includes staffing more than 1,700 people for CBM and TCA – ranging from manufacturing specialists to PhD scientists.
All revenue-generating functions at CBM and TCA, including program management, supply chain, engineering, manufacturing, process development and testing will report to Ahlgrimm. He will also ensure the successful execution of the rollout of TCA’s national COVID testing program. Ahlgrimm will lead both companies’ operations to efficiently meet the needs of a growing list of global biopharma customers.
Joerg Ahlgrimm is the President and Chief Operating Officer at The Discovery Labs. He is an Operations and Supply Chain Management Executive who has served in multi-billion dollar companies operating in biotech, vaccines, pharmaceutical and medical device markets. He is the former Head of Global Operations Pharma and Biotech at Lonza AG where he was responsible for 37 sites on four continents. He focuses on strategy development and execution management, productivity improvement, organizational development, team building, and leadership in the implementation of “best practices.”
Alan Moore is Chief Strategy Officer at Discovery Labs. Alan oversees new client development and on-boarding. He has 40 years of experience in the Life Sciences contract services field and most recently served as Vice President and Head of Strategic Alliances at WuXi Advanced Therapies. He was responsible for developing and maintaining strategic manufacturing relationships for autologous, allogeneic and gene-mediated cell and gene therapies, strategic partnering in biologics services, and for alliance development in technology platforms and services supporting biologics and advanced therapies. Prior to that he served as Commercial Chief with primary responsibility for alignment of strategic partnering, business development efforts, and external collaborations. As VP Strategic Accounts and Cell Manufacturing he oversaw the capital investment and capacity expansion for advanced therapies manufacturing at the Philadelphia Navy Yard campus. Prior to WuXi, he served as Executive VP and Chief Business Officer at Althea Technologies following his service at Genzyme where he held a Senior Regulatory Coordinator and VP of Biopharm Development Services position and his business unit manufactured early personalized therapies in conjunction with the NCI for phase III clinical trials of B cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Alan spent 16 years at Bioreliance moving from the lab to quality, and eventual management of the Biotech Services Division, then served as Director Business Development.
Matthew Farabaugh is the Chief Financial Officer of The Discovery Labs. Matt has over 19 years of finance and business experience in clinical and basic research of immunology, oncology, cell and gene therapy, and infectious diseases. He was previously Finance Manager at WuXi Advanced Therapies where he was responsible for revenue and contract management of $100MM in US revenue for research, manufacturing, and testing portfolio related to cell and gene therapy products. Prior to this Matthew served as a member of the UPENN-Novartis Global Program Team under Dr. Carl June and was responsible for a $50MM annual clinical development plan focused on FDA approval of cutting-edge CAR T cell therapy Kymriah in pediatric patients with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He has a BS in Microbiology from Duquesne University, an MS in Molecular Biotechnology from the University of Pennsylvania and finance training from the Wharton School of Business.
Dana Cipriano is VP of Testing and Analytical Services. Dana has a 20-year career in biotechnology with leadership roles focused on conceiving and designing processes and programs to drive sustainable growth and profitability. She was most recently Senior Director of Operations for WuXi AppTec where she directed operations for cell and gene therapy and biologics testing with a team of approximately 175 employees. She created the overall program strategy, drove tactical implementation plans and monitored key milestones to drive delivery of organizational objectives. She developed a fully integrated program for development of new corporate strategy centered on driving scalability in biologics testing services. Dana has a Masters in Microbiology from Thomas Jefferson University and a Bachelor’s in Biology from Rutgers University.
Mike McCormack is the VP of Quality and Compliance. Mike has over 17 years of experience in quality management within the biotechnology, cell and gene therapy and pharmaceutical industry with a proven track record of success maximizing performance, scaling quality commercial operations and streamlining quality systems, while maintaining the highest levels of compliance with global regulations over multi-site operations. Mike was most recently Vice President Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs at WuXi AppTec and was a QM Manager at Johnson Matthey Fine Chemicals. He has his MBA with an emphasis in Biotechnology and Health Industry from Penn State University and attended the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia where his field of study was Pharmacology and Toxicology.
Emily Moran is Senior Director of Vector Manufacturing. She is an experienced leader in Cell and Gene Therapy and Biologics Manufacturing with a focus on commercial readiness, industrialization, and manufacturing stabilization. She most recently was Head of Viral Vector Manufacturing at Lonza. She is experienced in Aseptic Processing, upstream and downstream processing, Viral Vector and Cell Therapy, Supply Chain and Demand Planning, Quality Auditing, CAPAs, and Lean Manufacturing Standards. She has a Bachelors in Biology from Ursinus College and an MBA from New York Institute of Technology.
Sybil Danby, Senior VP of Business Development and Strategy, joined The Discovery Labs with almost 15 years of industry experience across both technical and commercial roles. Most recently, Sybil was responsible for Business Development at Paragon Bioservices, which was acquired by Catalent Pharma Solutions in 2019 for $1.2 billion. In that role she interfaced with over 40 clients from top tier gene therapy companies, negotiated large strategic contracts, and more than doubled the business every year for three years straight. Prior to joining Paragon Sybil was part of the Single Use Technologies Business Unit at Pall, supporting upstream customers to adopt innovative single-use bioreactor technologies for the production of advanced therapies including AAV gene therapies, oncolytic viruses, and cell therapies. Sybil spent 9 years at GSK, working in both the Manufacturing and R&D organizations supporting the development, technology transfer, and manufacture of multiple clinical and commercial monoclonal antibody products. During her time at GSK Sybil developed extensive expertise in the area of bioreactor scaling and cell culture process development, contributing to the development and characterization of upstream processes for multiple products. Sybil obtained her B.A. in Biology from the University of Rochester and her M.S. in Biology from West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
Rich Heany is the President of MLP Ventures and has over 25 years of experience in real estate acquisitions, development, leasing and deal structuring. He has completed the acquisition and leasing of millions of square feet of real estate throughout the United States. Rich has a Degree in Civil Engineering from Drexel University and an MBA in Finance from LaSalle University.
Shailah Yazdani is Director of Lab Operations for Testing Centers of America. She has 11 years of continued success in healthcare and is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. She most recently was President and Region Head of Financial Operations at Parkway Clinical Laboratories. She has an MBA from Temple University Fox School of Management.
Oliver Mellet is the Vice President of Information Technology and Security of The Discovery Labs. Oliver has broad experience in delivering IT and IT Security solutions in the pharma and health care sectors at Merck and Penn Medicine in the support of cancer research, clinical trials, drug safety, GMP supply chain and manufacturing, and system security. He is known for delivering measurable results for complex problems in large scale corporate landscapes. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Management from the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton and SEAS)
Steve Gwynn is the Director of Enterprise Applications at The Discovery Labs. Steve has over 30 years experience in the Life Science industry as a leader in Information Technology, Supply Chain and Operations supporting both small and large molecule manufacturing domestically and internationally. Steve spent most of his career at Merck and came to Discovery Labs after several years as a Life Sciences consultant. As a consultant, Steve completed several projects at Bristol Myers Squibb and most recently Paragon Bioservices/Catalent Cell & Gene Therapy. Steve has extensive experience implementing and managing ERP systems for pharmaceutical/biologics operations and CDMOs. Steve has a Bachelor Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and an MBA with a focus in Operations from James Madison University.
Kevin is Project Director for the Operational Start-up of The Discovery Labs. He is an experienced project leader with nearly 15 years in the pharmaceutical industry and most recently served as a Global Tech Transfer Leader for Sanofi Pasteur. In this role, Kevin worked to identify and select external contract manufacturing and testing partners around the globe, and then implemented the technical and business processes between the two organizations. This expertise will prove to be particularly valuable in maximizing the customer experience. Kevin’s previous roles, within the industry, include work in Manufacturing Technology, Project Management, Manufacturing Excellence, Continuous Improvement, and Operations Management. He brings a strong project management and technical background as well as a solid understanding of supply chain, operational excellence, and strategic planning. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Penn State University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Scranton, and a PMP (Project Management Professional) certification.
Aldo Romano has over 20 years of Bioprocess, Cell and Gene Therapy experience in capital equipment and disposable process technologies. He was previously Business Development Manager at GE Healthcare Lifesciences where he was responsible for further developing their Enterprise Solutions business. Prior to this Aldo served at Advanced Scientific (now part of Thermo-Fisher) as a Healthcare Sales Manager in their OEM medical technology contract manufacturing unit. He began his career at Pall Corporation where he worked as a Director of Sales focused on the growth and adoption of single use technologies into the Biotech market. Aldo has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Binghamton University.
implementing overall marketing strategy, goals and campaigns. He is a recent graduate of The University of Delaware, he also played Division 1 Football at Wagner College.
Mr. O’Neill is the Director of Strategy and Special Projects where he oversees and manages marketing materials, client development and management, acquisitions strategy and rollout, and developing and implementing overall marketing strategy, goals and campaigns. He is a recent graduate of The University of Delaware, he also played Division 1 Football at Wagner College.
André Zeibari is Senior Director of Engineering and Automation at The Discovery Labs. Andre has nearly 25 years of experience in the life sciences industry with broad experience in designing, implementing, validating and maintaining operationally efficient and sustainable shop-floor automation and operational technologies, enterprise systems, and everything in between. He most recently developed and led the automation engineering organization at Paragon Bioservices responsible for automation systems in several gene therapy development and manufacturing sites.
Joe Corcoran has had an extensive and successful background in all aspects of the commercial real estate industry since 1983 when he started his career at the global brokerage real estate management company Cushman & Wakefield. After learning the trade at Cushman and successfully leasing the first office tower built in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, Four Falls Corporate Center, Joe co-founded and formed Preferred Real Estate Advisors, the exclusive marketing arm of Preferred Real Estate Investments. He was a principal and a driving force in the successful growth of Preferred, and it’s development and leasing of over 4 million square feet which sold for over $350million in 2005, and was the largest suburban real estate portfolio sale in Philadelphia’s history at the time of the transaction. Joe later headed up The Flynn Company’s investment sales group, and became one of their top producers as a partner at the firm. Joe joined MLP Ventures and The Discovery labs as Executive Vice President and is overseeing the marketing and leasing of the campus. Joe holds an Economics Degree from Villanova University and served on the board on the Center for Real Estate at Villanova’s Business School.