Pharma Focus Asia

AskBio and Columbus Venture Partners Launch Gene Therapy Company Viralgen

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc. announced the formation of Viralgen, a gene therapy joint venture with Columbus Venture Partners. The Viralgen Vector Core will use AskBio’s technology for the production of double strand adeno-associated virus (AAV). Viralgen ( will be located in the Gipuzkoa Science and Technology Park in San Sebastián, Spain and will be the only facility in Europe with access to the most robust manufacturing platform. Viralgen is established with direct investments from AskBio and Columbus Venture Partners and a significant commitment from the Basque Government.

“This is a great opportunity to establish unique gene manufacturing capabilities in Europe,” said Sheila Mikhail, President and CEO of AskBio. “Our partnership with Columbus and the support of the Basque government will hopefully attract significant talent to the region and have immediate impact on the gene therapy market in Europe and the rest of the world.”

AskBio shall transfer Viralgen more than ten years of AskBio’s manufacturing experience, along with its cell line and process. Viralgen will then have the ability to manufacture GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) batches of viral vectors for the global market. The Viralgen manufacturing plant at full capacity will create about 50 highly qualified jobs for the local region.

“We are excited about the exclusive viral vector capabilities this partnership will create,” said Javier García Cogorro, Managing Partner of Columbus Venture Partners. “Viralgen success will be based on three areas: outstanding technology, quality of the location to attract talent, and commitment from the Basque Country Government.”

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