National Resilience, Inc. (Resilience) is on a mission to reinvent biomanufacturing – a well-funded mission.
Last month, the company announced it had raised $625 million in a Series D round, as well as $600 million in a previously unannounced Series C completed last August.
The company is not disclosing a list of investors, but they include “major sovereign funds, pension funds, family offices, blue chip mutual funds that have invested in this company as in previous rounds, as well as some new investors,” said Resilience CEO Rahul Singhvi.
In total, Resilience has secured more than $2 billion in equity financing since its founding in 2020.
A ‘Manufacturing Athlete’
Resilience was founded in mid-2020 during the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in response to a realization that there was an “underinvestment in biomanufacturing” in the U.S. and across the globe. The underinvestment was even more pronounced by the relative investments in biological advancements in genome sequencing, cell therapies and other advanced sciences.
“We are observing in the world right now an incredible revolution in biology and if we don’t up the game; if we don’t do the manufacturing with new tools, with new approaches, with new science, then we will have a reduced impact of that incredible science,” Singhvi said.
For the past two years, Resilience worked to build something that didn’t exist in the life sciences ecosystem – a “manufacturing athlete” that focuses solely on process development and manufacturing.
“In our industry, everybody is trying to do everything. They all want to become a fully integrated pharma company, which means diffusing their energies and doing things that are not necessarily their superpowers,” Singhvi said. “What we’re trying to say is, ‘Just do what you’re good at and let’s divide and rule by division of labor by comparative advantage.’”
The plan is working. Resilience currently has 10 facilities across North America, with more than 1 million square feet of manufacturing space and more than 1,600 employees. The company’s network is expected to add capacity and capabilities this year with projects underway at several existing sites.
Infrastructure and Tech Investments
Expanding Resilience’s infrastructure is part of the company’s three-part growth strategy for deploying its capital, Singhvi said.
In reaching its over 1 million square feet of space, Resilience added capacity and capabilities to support biologics and vaccines with expansions in Alachua, Florida, Boston and Toronto, which will all be coming online this year.
The company is currently building a new facility in Marlborough, Massachusetts, to support gene therapy and vaccine production that is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023.
Resilience is also adding a new drug substance manufacturing site in the Philadelphia region.
And in July of last year, Resilience acquired bluebird bio’s Research Triangle manufacturing facility in North Carolina.
“Some of the acquisitions we’ve made are largely to have the facilities that are needed to serve customers,” Singhvi said, adding that company takes a “build and buy” approach to expanding its infrastructure.
In addition to infrastructure, Resilience is also focused on investments in technologies.
“We have to innovate in the manufacturing science area,” Singhvi said, adding that biotech companies today are bringing “unprecedented” science that need new processes or recipes. “We have to have the right R&D folks with the competence to work with these biological innovators to be able to make the recipe and have the kitchens to make the drug.”
In December, Resilience acquired SwiftScale Biologics, a company developing cell-free protein synthesis, a technology that “can potentially be disruptive” in drug manufacturing.
New Business Model
The third focus of Resilience’s investment strategy is a new model for partnerships in drug development.
“We recognize the fact that in our industry, which is highly regulated, all of the risk is in the hands of the company that owns the product and when you’re sourcing with somebody else, they could be an asymmetric risk,” Singhvi said. “So if you can work with a company that owns the product and say, ‘We’ll carry some of that risk with you. We can align our incentives’ – that kind of takes away that moral hazard problem that can arise from this.”
Resilience will use investment dollars to support companies with good biology and help them work on process development and manufacturing without taking cash or “less cash than normal.”
One such company is Be Biopharma, which Resilience has an agreement with to manufacture engineered B Cells to create a new class of autologous and allogeneic cellular medicines.
“We have an agreement with them where we will do all the work on their compounds in the pipeline to take the drug from pre-clinical to clinical and during that phase not charge them any cash, but it will be more like taking a back end royalty,” Singhvi said, describing Resilience’s relationship to Be Biopharma as “acting as a partner not a service provider where we share in both risk and reward.”
In addition to raising and deploying capital, Resilience has also been attracting customers. In April the company signed a strategic manufacturing services agreement with Opus Genetics, a gene therapy company developing treatments for inherited retinal diseases, to provide process and analytical development, quality control testing and GMP manufacturing services.
In February, Resilience secured a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to manufacture monoclonal antibodies used to counter botulinum.
Also in February, Resilience established a multi-product development and manufacturing collaboration with Takeda’s Plasma-Derived Therapies Business Unit. As part of that agreement, Resilience will focus on supporting the development and manufacture of multiple products in Takeda’s plasma-derived medicines portfolio out of its facility in Mississauga, Ontario.
“We are delighted to form this strategic collaboration with Resilience, leveraging their expertise in both plasma therapy development and manufacturing to complement our current infrastructure and capabilities,” said Andreas Liebminger, head of pharmaceutical sciences and devices for the Plasma-Derived Therapies Business Unit at Takeda. “Our partnership will allow us to optimally use our combined assets to continue to bolster our portfolio, drive innovation and help more patients around the world realize the benefits of plasma medicines.”
Singhvi said Resilience also already has customers waiting for some of its facilities in development to go online – and the company will still have lots of room to grow.
“The investments that have already been made have given us enough capacity to give us a substantial top line,” he said. “When that will be achieved will take some time because the peak sales capacity of the infrastructure we built is quite substantial. We can continue to grow every year at a very good clip and still not fill that full capacity.”
National Resilience, Inc. (Resilience)
CEO: Rahul Singhvi
Headquarters: San Diego
Notable: In just two years, Resilience has acquired or built over 1 million square feet of manufacturing capacity.