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New lab space in the works for downtown Richmond as pharmaceutical development company Phlow forms strategic alliance

New lab space in the works for downtown Richmond as pharmaceutical development company Phlow forms strategic alliance

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Richmond-based pharmaceutical development company Phlow Corp. has formed a partnership with a nonprofit organization that will involve opening new laboratory operations in downtown Richmond.

Phlow, which is working to build the supply of medicines that face shortages in the U.S. market, said Monday that it has formed a strategic alliance with United States Pharmacopeia to develop a new laboratory operation in the Virginia Bio+Tech Research Park.

The lab, expected to employ about a dozen scientists, will certify and validate the continuous manufacturing processes that Phlow is developing along with other partners to make affordable medicines for the U.S. market.

United States Pharmacopeia “is the leading nonprofit standards organization for medicines in the world, especially in America, and to be able to have an alliance and a collaboration with them that allows us to work together ... in a shared lab environment is huge,” said Dr. Eric Edwards, the co-founder and CEO of Phlow.

United States Pharmacopeia is a scientific, not-for-profit organization, based in Rockville, Md., that develops public standards for the quality of medicines.

Phlow was founded by Edwards along with Virginia Commonwealth University professor and chemical scientist Frank Gupton with the goal of using innovative, continuous manufacturing processes to improve the efficiency and reduce the costs for the U.S. production of medications that largely have been shifted to overseas manufacturing.

In May, the company announced it had received a $354 million federal contract to help build a national, strategic reserve of essential medicines.

The company also will manufacture active ingredients for more than a dozen medicines used to treat patients with COVID-19.

To develop and produce the medicines, Phlow is partnering with VCU’s Medicines for All Institute and with Civica Inc., a nonprofit organization formed by various U.S. health care providers to address chronic generic drug shortages.

Civica announced plans last month to invest $124.5 million to establish its first in-house pharmaceutical manufacturing operation on Normandy Drive in Petersburg.

Phlow also is planning to open an adjacent plant to make the active ingredients for those drugs.

As part of the alliance with Phlow, United States Pharmacopeia scientists will be employed at a laboratory operated by the nonprofit at the Bio+Tech Park in downtown Richmond.

The new laboratory will be co-located with Phlow’s own research and development lab and VCU’s Medicines for All Institute.

The alliance with United States Pharmacopeia comes a week after Phlow said it had completed a $20 million series A investment round from private investors to help the company start some key initiatives such as building a commercial sales team and partnering with health care providers.

“Americans deserve to have the highest quality when it comes to their essential medicines, and having a leading scientific organization such as [United States Pharmacopeia] help ensure that the processes we develop meet the highest quality standards will help us provide that level of trust to the American public moving forward,” Edwards said.

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