Longmont genomics company KromaTiD is expanding to include a manufacturing sector for plasmids — DNA molecules that are used in gene therapy for diseases such as cancer.
Plasmids are used to transform cells, so they are an essential tool for the therapy, which repairs or replaces a mutated gene in the body in an effort to treat a disease.
Christopher Tompkins, KromaTiD’s chief technology officer, said the demand for plasmids has grown rapidly.
“If you were to call up somebody and say, you know, ‘can you make me a plasmid?’ you might have to wait six months before they could start — so that is part of the reason we’re doing this, because we have a customer base we’ve been providing services to was having trouble meeting this demand,” he explained. “So we hope we can be helpful to our cell and gene therapy customers, as well as to other people in the industry.”
Cancer treatments such as CAR T cell therapy are “exploding,” Tompkins said. Gene therapy is also being used in clinical trials to treat sickle cell disease — red blood cell disorders that can cause pain and major health complications.
“A lot of those companies that are doing the therapies — they need to purchase plasmids … and so the companies that do this today are at capacity, for the most part,” he explained.
KromaTiD, at 1880 Industrial Circle, is adding three suites and a service lab that are dedicated to plasmid creation, he said.
“We started with two suites in this building, and one of them was just an office, so we converted that suite completely — so it’s about 4,000 square feet of dedicated manufacturing space,” Tompkins said.
Several people have already been hired in the company expansion, and KromaTiD plans to hire around 10 new employees — production and commercial staff — this year, he said.
“We’re growing quite rapidly as a company, and so it’s good that we can hire people and keep up with the growth.”
KromaTiD, which opened in Longmont five years ago, provides genomics tools and scientific support to academic, pharmaceutical and therapeutic research teams. The company’s plasmid creation will support teams that aim to get approval for their gene therapy from the Federal Drug Administration, which decides whether the treatment can be used by the public.