Astellas, headquartered in Japan, is bolstering its manufacturing capabilities for cell and gene therapies, in line with its R&D and investment push in the space.
In a statement, the company stated that it is engaged in research of “new modalities such as cell therapy, next-generation vaccines and gene therapy”. This strategy has seen the company acquire Quethera, a gene therapy company, and stem cell tech earlier in the year.
With its expanding portfolio, it announced two facilities would be built in Japan: a centre for active ingredients for biopharmaceuticals and a centre for the production of clinical trial materials (CTM).
The former will cost ¥10bn ($88.4m) and will occupy 8,000 m² of space in the Toyama prefecture. The construction is expected to be completed by September 2019, with the facility able to produce antibodies and cell therapies for the Japanese, US and European markets.
The latter will be based in Tsukuba and will see ¥5bn invested to enable the production of material for early-stage clinical trials, with the facility covering 1,800 m². The company explained that being able to produce its own clinical trial material would reduce development timelines once the facility is operational in March 2019.
“It will become possible for the company to supply CTM in a flexible and timely manner necessary to progress development programmes in various modalities. This is expected to contribute to the shortening of the total time from development to product launch,” said the company in a statement.
The biggest investment for the company will be the relocation and renovation of its Astellas Institute for Regenerative Medicine subsidiary in the US, costing ¥14bn. The plans will see the unit remain in the state of Massachusetts but move to a new location that holds a total floor space of 24,000 m².
The upgraded facility will be able to provide CTM in the field of regenerative medicine and cell therapy. According to the firm, the capacity of the site could be scaled up to meet the demands of commercial production. Work has already begun on the new site and will be finished in January 2020.