Cook Regentec spins off first biotech from Indy-based incubator

Cook Regentec, the Indianapolis-based division of Cook Group in Bloomington that acts as a medical-technology incubator, is spinning off its first biotech operation into a new, independent company.

Cook said Tuesday that the new firm, called Sexton Biotechnologies, has raised $5 million in outside investment and will spin off by or about Oct. 1.

The company develops cell and gene therapy tools used to grow cells for medical purposes. The spinoff will allow it to expand and scale commercialization, Cook Regentec said.

Sexton will be comprised of a 17-person team from Cook Regentec that has developed, incubated and commercialized the cell and gene technologies since 2015. It will lease production and office space inside Cook Regentec’s facility, located at 1102 Indiana Ave. in the 16 Tech Innovation District, just west of the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Sean Werner, an executive leader of the Cook Regentec development team, will serve as president of Sexton Biotechnologies.

Regenerative medicine is a branch of research that uses tissue engineering and molecular biology to regenerate human cells. Cook Regentec developed the technology as part of its Cook General Biotechnology operation, an outgrowth of a small biotech startup associated with Indiana University. Cook bought the startup, which had about 20 people, in 2012.

Investors in Sexton Biotechnologies include BioLife Solutions, a publicly company based in Bothell, Washington, that develops and supplies bioproduction tools; Casdin Capital of New York City; BioCrossroads, an Indianapolis-based group that invests in the state’s life-sciences sector; and Cook Regentec.

Cook Regentec’s incubator is a former beer warehouse that the company bought four years ago and transformed into a medical-research facility with $21 million in improvements. Cook Regentec is also incubating two other companies: a veterinary cell therapy company and a medical-device company for delivery of advanced therapeutics.

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