Wheeler Bio, a contract development and manufacturing organization specializing in small batch clinical production of biologics and GMP-grade reagents using an open-source platform, recently announced the first closing of their Series A financing round.
“I am thrilled to have the support of investors and partners who agree that innovators need to minimize friction points more than ever before in the face of new market headwinds,” said Jesse McCool, co-Founder and CEO at Wheeler Bio. “A key part of our thesis has been that by making the clinical manufacturing process more transparent, cost-effective, and integrated with coastal drug discovery partners, like Alloy Therapeutics, biotechs will have more opportunities to create clinical impact.”
Wheeler will use the new funding to expand its state-of-the-art drug substance GMP manufacturing facility in the Ziggurat building in Oklahoma City. Through key strategic partnerships with recognized CRO providers, like Alloy Therapeutics and ATUM, Wheeler Bio will continue building an innovative hub-and-spoke business model that connects cutting-edge biologics discovery technologies with an agile, open-source biomanufacturing platform for GMP clinical trial material.
“Alloy is building an innovative drug discovery ecosystem to empower the global scientific community to make better medicines together,” said Errik Anderson, Founder and CEO at Alloy Therapeutics. “A key part of that is our venture studio, 82VS, which supports the efficient launch of next generation medicines companies. We are excited about our partnership with Wheeler, which connects our brilliant scientists and entrepreneurs to high quality, pre-competitive small batch manufacturing — ultimately enabling them to move more quickly to the clinic.”
The round was co-led by Charles River Laboratories and Echo Investment Capital with participation from ATUM, Floating Point Advisors, Plains Venture Partners (a subsidiary of i2E) and Pine Ridge Ventures.
“Echo and its partners are focused on connecting companies, capabilities, communities, and capital for everyone’s benefit,” said Christian Kanady, Echo’s Founding Partner. “Investing with respected coastal resources to advance Wheeler Bio’s growth is another step forward in connecting Oklahoma with the world and the world with Oklahoma. Together, we are accelerating drug development and unlocking the state’s unique potential.”
Oklahoma City has long been a production, distribution and business services hub. Key advantages include consistently lower business costs, a ready biomanufacturing workforce, a world-class training network of 16 technology centers, 18 public and private universities, major medical and aerospace research centers, “shovel ready” sites with interstate, rail and runway access, and special incentives. OKC was recently awarded $35 MM by the U.S. Economic Development Administration to further advance the bioecosystem, including specific funding for biomanufacturing workforce development.