Keele, UK-based Cobra Biologics is being handed £2.6 million by Innovate UK to help the firm expand and develop its infrastructure.

The award stems from Innovate UK’s Industrial Strategy boost for UK medicines initiative, which will hand out some £70 million of funding to create new manufacturing centres to help speed up the development of new medicines in the country.

The investment will go towards a £5 million development project at Cobra, which forms part of a wider £15 million company expansion, to advance world leading capabilities for clinical and commercial production of viral vectors and DNA, vital for gene therapy and immune-oncology programmes.

Cobra said the growing its capacity and capability will allow increased process development, analytics and GMP manufacturing, and provides the necessary infrastructure to offer commercial in-market supply of viral vector and DNA products to Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP) developers.

“Cobra is undertaking a very significant expansion of our viral and DNA manufacturing capability and we are very pleased to have received funding from Innovate UK to help accelerate our plans,” noted chief executive Peter Coleman.

“The investment recognises Cobra as a leading company in the cell and gene therapy market and provides us, and the UK, with a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of developing revolutionary disease therapies and new treatments for patients.”

“The expansion of Cobra is an exciting development. It will create further highly skilled jobs and allow Cobra to drive their exports, while demonstrating UK leadership in another industry of the future,” added trade and exports minister Baroness Rona Fairhead.