Top Workplaces 2022: Forge Biologics innovative culture has it in growth mode
If you were the hiring manager at Forge Biologics, you’d never know America was in the midst of an unprecedented labor shortage. While companies across the country are struggling to fill open positions, the Grove City biotechnology company has had more than 1,200 applications since the beginning of the year.
Forge Biologics earned a Special Award for its innovative culture as part of Columbus CEO's 2022 Top Workplaces awards.
CEO Timothy Miller attributes it to people wanting to be a part of a company that has a “patient-first approach” and could soon be the largest producer of dedicated adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapies in the world. Gene therapy using AAV as a vector has emerged as a novel therapeutic modality that has the potential to lead to substantial disease modification in many monogenic disorders, or even cures, Nature.com reports.
To address the growing demand for gene therapy manufacturing, Forge began an expansion of its facility, The Hearth, in 2021. It will increase the overall manufacturing footprint of the company to over 200,000 square feet of facility space in Grove City. Forge’s business model is a hybrid, or hub-and-spoke model, where it develops its own pipeline of novel gene therapies and also serves as a contract and development manufacturing organization to manufacture gene therapies for its clients, which include other companies, organizations and researchers.
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With The Hearth as its foundation, Forge is building a promising pipeline of disease-modifying AAV-based therapies to potentially help patients with rare genetic diseases.
“We even have people from the coasts applying. It’s very exciting,” Miller says. “It goes to the mentality that we’re all here as a team to help kids get access to these potentially life-saving therapies. Without us, many of them might not get access in time to save their life.”
For example, Forge is working on FBX-101 for the treatment of patients with the neurodegenerative Krabbe disease. Infantile Krabbe disease usually results in death by age two. FBX-101 is in a Phase 1-2 clinical trial.
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Miller co-founded the company in 2020 with Erandi De Silva and Jaysson Eicholtz. Forge has 160 employees and is looking for more. Miller came to central Ohio from Cleveland where he co-founded Abeona Therapeutics, a rare disease gene and cell therapy company that he took public in 2015.
Danielle Sexton, scientist I, process development, joined Forge in April 2021. As a mother of two children, she finds meaning in work that could potentially change the lives of families. She says new ideas are encouraged at the company through genuine collaboration. “There’s a good exchange of ideas and no ideas are ever off the table,” Sexton says. “It’s a kinetic environment. We want to make a difference in patients’ lives and in order to do that you have to be able to think outside the box and do new things.
Laura Newpoff is a freelance writer.
3900 Gantz Rd. Grove City, 43123
Business: A gene therapy-focused contract development and manufacturing organization
CEO: Timothy Miller
Employees: 160 (approx.)
Revenue: Would not disclose