As an inorganic chemistry student at Benedictine College, Aaron Cowley, Arranta Bio’s Chief Scientific Officer, didn’t expect to someday lead a biotechnology company focused on the process development of LBPs. Even as a doctoral and post-doctoral student, Aaron’s passion was the potential therapeutic nature of enzymes, which led him to start Captozyme, a CDMO supporting the development of enzyme-based therapies to treat a variety of conditions, specifically kidney disease.
After founding Captozyme in 2009, Aaron and his multi-disciplinary team of researchers and lab technicians, discovered a gap in process development of LBPs while working with a company that had invested millions of dollars into clinical testing, only to have the project fail upon tech transfer. The Captozyme team learned that not all organisms — especially challenging species of LBPs – can be kept viable in the same ways; what makes one organism ‘happy’ can cause another to fail.
“What allowed Captozyme to find the source of the problem – and to develop the expertise in LBP processes — is our unique perspective. Our knowledge base in microbiology is complemented by team members with backgrounds in chemistry and other fields. As a result, we bring a different element to the table and can evaluate projects with a different set of eyes,” Aaron says.
Aaron believes a perspective from a variety of fields, from chemistry to engineering, is the key to the successful process development of LBPs. The team spent 10 years researching, testing and amending the processes for 125 different isolates, establishing a decision tree as they worked to help determine the nature of each species and the various isolates associated with it — a project that has boosted the team’s ability to make the right choices at the start of each project.
In November 2019, Captozyme’s service division became part of Arranta Bio after recognizing a further need to support microbiome-based candidates in early-phase, preclinical and clinical development by using the same decision-making processes Aaron and his team spent 10 years perfecting.
Arranta Bio’s goal when designing process development of LBPs is to help clients scale practically, efficiently and cost-effectively— a process that starts where it will end. The Arranta Bio team first determines the best process for successful large-scale and commercial implementation, which will be produced in Arranta Bio’s new facility in Watertown, MA, then scales back down to the cGMP facility in Gainesville FL for intensive development.
By serving an under-accommodated industry of start-up innovators with process development of LBPs, the company is poised to help bring microbiome-based therapies to market resourcefully, thanks to passion, persistence and a whole lot of perspective.
Read Aaron’s interview, including future plans for Arranta Bio’s Gainesville FL and Watertown MA facilities and the influence of microbiome-based therapy industry, the Quarter 1 edition of Pharma Almanac.