WuXi to more than double US cell therapy manufacturing ops with new site

By Zachary Brennan

- Last updated on GMT

WuXi to more than double US cell therapy manufacturing ops with new site

Related tags Cell therapy Cell therapy manufacturing Dna Wuxi

China-based CDMO WuXi PharmaTech unveiled Thursday that it will soon begin construction on its third cell therapy manufacturing facility -- a 145,000-square-foot cGMP facility in Philadelphia. 

The facility is designed for cell therapy products that contain viral vectors such as chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T cell) therapies. CAR-T cells are T cells taken from a patient's body, engineered to target specific cancers, and then reintroduced into the body.

The site is expected to become operational by mid-2016 and it will provide single-source contract development and cGMP manufacturing capabilities to support growth in the cell therapy industry, which has come from the likes of deals by Kite Pharma and Cardio3 Biosciences​. Specifically, the new facility will provide manufacturing capability and capacity to meet the rapidly expanding demand around clinical trials and commercialization.

WuXi spokesman Aaron Shi told us: "The new facility is designed for cell therapies that use viral vectors​," while for the other Philly facility that is being completed this year, these products do not use viral vectors.  "For companies that have products that do not require a viral vector, they do not want to have viruses in the facility especially for commercial product.  Therefore, we needed to build a new facility for products that require a viral vector​."

The site supplements the company’s existing 16,000-square-foot cGMP cell therapy manufacturing facility, as well as a 45,000-square-foot facility for the manufacturing of allogeneic and autologous cell-based therapeutics that is expected to be completed by mid-2015. The 45,000-square-foot site relies on single-use and disposable equipment​, Alan More, VP of cell manufacturing, told us previously.

By 2016, WuXi's available manufacturing capacity in the US will be 206,000-square-feet, which would help meet the anticipated market needs of clinical and commercial production for cell-therapy companies. These facilities will complement the company's current fully integrated facility for biological safety and lot release testing in Philadelphia.

"Cell therapies like CAR T cells offer important new treatment options for cancer patients, and WuXi aims to be at the forefront of this area of providing our partners with cutting-edge cGMP manufacturing capabilities and capacities​," said Ge Li, Chairman and CEO of WuXi.

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