Aaron Cowley, CSO
Arranta Bio Economic Impact
377% Job Growth
Arranta Bio supports the pioneers in the development of healthcare therapies based on live biotherapeutic products (LBPs) targeting gut health and microbiome-related diseases by providing development and manufacturing services that bring effective treatments to the market and patients in need.
Arranta Bio was featured in this edition of our magazine! Check it out here.
Although Founded in 2019, A Purpose-Driven Culture Makes Arranta Bio an Industry Leader
Can you tell us about the ah-ha moment that led to the idea of your company?
This industry is still in its infancy, with only about 200 companies currently pursuing microbiome-based therapies. In May 2019, Arranta was established to meet this important market need; however, our roots go back a decade. In November 2019, Arranta Bio acquired Captozyme™ – the leader in process development and clinical contract manufacturing for microbiome pioneers – whose experienced team has worked with and developed processes for more than 135 different species of live biotherapeutics spanning 85 different genera since 2009.
Headed by a management team and technical experts with a proven track record in both process development and contract
manufacturing through fermentation to lyophilization and encapsulation of live biopharmaceuticals, Arranta Bio offers the knowledge and resources necessary to help clients develop and manufacture promising new microbiome therapies to meet the needs of patients.
What are some major challenges you’ve found while growing your business? What challenges do you expect to see in the coming years?
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted us to be more open to work-from- home situations, as well as more agile in a rapidly changing world. It was important to us to protect the safety and health of our employees first and foremost, but also keep our client projects moving forward. The level of communication made possible through virtual town halls, lunch and learns, and other initiatives has been greatly enhanced, and we will maintain a higher frequency of shorter meetings in the future to support employee engagement and alignment.
The microbiome is a new and blossoming field with an incredible amount of potential, so essentially our biggest challenge as a leader in this sector is to build sufficient capacity ahead of demand.
What is the culture like at Arranta Bio?
We at Arranta Bio believe in the work we do and our ability to change the face of healthcare. It’s purpose- driven work at the core. To do that successfully, we take our work seriously, deliver on our promises, rely on teamwork, and cheer each other on!
Our core values – Agile, Leading, Innovating, Value-creating and Engaging – provide an excellent guide map for our company culture. Valued employees are successful employees, and that’s our goal.
How has operating in Florida benefited your business?
The Gainesville, FL, location is our legacy site, and Arranta Bio continues to expand here for a variety of reasons: the high degree of expertise through University of Florida, a thriving biotechnology community, ample space to grow the business within an industrial park, and the weather isn’t bad, either.
How has Arranta Bio innovated to gain a competitive advantage in the industry?
Innovation is the cornerstone of what we do at Arranta Bio. Our process development and manufacturing principles are based upon the groundbreaking work in the microbiome field by our core team, who have found improved success with fastidious bacteria when other CDMOs fell short.
Arranta’s legacy company has gained world-class experience in manufacturing microbial products that achieve yield and viability targets for clients. These products are designed to be delivered in capsules that release the products in the gut; the active products then grow within the gut, where they have a better chance of impacting diseases. These products are challenging to manufacture and require specialized equipment and facilities. Some product innovators are ready to give up on being able to supply their chosen products because they are too difficult to make – until we demonstrate to them that Arranta’s proprietary manufacturing platform can achieve their goals.
As CSO, what were three of the most pivotal moments?
First, Arranta was able to raise $82M in October 2019 to create a contract manufacturer focused on the microbiome. This was possible to due the growing clinical evidence that the microbiome will become an important area of medicine to treat many diseases, and that there is a need for a high-quality contract manufacturer to support innovators.
The second most pivotal moment was when Arranta Bio completed the acquisition of Captozyme, a 10- year veteran company with a stellar technical track record in developing processes for microbiome product companies. As the CSO for Captozyme, I was honored to join Arranta Bio as Chief Scientific Officer.
Third, Arranta has been able to maintain momentum on a $100M program to build capacity for early-stage clinical products in
Gainesville, FL and late-stage clinical and commercial facility in Watertown, MA. We were able to build the organization to more than 100 individuals by year-end individuals by year-end.
How does Arranta Bio give back to the community?
Arranta Bio leaders and employees believe in corporate social responsibility – both individually and as an organization.
We believe we can make an important contribution to the community not only through our knowledge and skills, but also by engaging in a wide variety of local projects that make a difference in the communities we serve.
Employees are encouraged to give back to the community by donating time (paid time off to volunteer) money (gift-matching program) and resources (supporting community food-drives in the Gainesville area and beyond.)
Most recently, Arranta pledged $10,000 to charities in the Gainesville area; employees donated more than 40 pounds of food to the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank in June; and leaders launched a paid-time-off policy for employees who wish to serve their communities with their time.
What makes your company unique?
Arranta Bio is unique because we’re helping lay the foundation for pioneers in a field that could reshape the way we treat disease, giving hope to patients with previously un-treatable disease who had very little. We believe we’re also different in the way we treat our employees. We recognize the importance of keeping our employees engaged, providing training, and keeping their safety our first priority.
What does it mean to you to be selected as a GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Honoree?
We’re delighted to receive recognition for an amazing year of growth built on a decade of commitment to microbiome space. We hope our selection brings more attention to this exciting field and helps the microbiome research and biotechnology community in Gainesville thrive.
We are extremely thankful to the selection committee for recognizing what Arranta Bio is building. We would also like to thank the Arranta Bio employees for making this possible. They are our greatest asset.
What is your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
A car in the garage is safe, but that is not what cars are built for.