G-CON will bring its capacity to produce prefabricated flexible cleanroom facilities (PODs) to the partnership, whilst GE Healthcare will supply the cell therapy and viral vectors technologies.
Combined, the two firms will supply those companies working in cell therapy and with viral vectors a platform to manufacture the materials needed to progress drug candidates from clinical trials through to the market.
A spokesperson from GE Healthcare told us that the offerings should give the companies the capability to make moving from early stage trials to commercial stage a ‘natural progression.’
“In fact, [the platform] is suitable for every phase in between early stage and commercial. For example, a company could use the same POD while scaling up or out the process, or could install another Flex Factory & POD,” the spokesperson explained.
The capacity to offer the combined solution would allow those purchasing the capabilities to make “time, money and people savings”, the spokesperson suggested.
“Companies are getting a complete, turn-key solution (facility and process equipment with automation) from a single source. This will simplify interactions and enable companies to save time and money. It will also make it easier to move from early stage through clinical and into commercial production due to greater efficiencies in the transfer, as well enabling use of existing facilities and converting space into flexible cleanrooms,” the spokesperson outlined.
Cell and gene therapy demand
The cell and gene therapy space is currently growing at a rapid rate, but this has meant that the production of crucial elements, such as viral vectors, are lagging behind demand.
This has led to some larger companies in the space, such as bluebird bio, choosing to build their own manufacturing facilities to either replace or supplement supply from contract manufacturing organisations (CMOs).
GE Healthcare’s spokesperson told us that this offering aims to meet this growing need: “We are enabling the industry, both cell & gene therapy companies and CMOs to cost effectively meet this demand. The industry will now have a turnkey solution that removes bottlenecks, balances risk and saves time.”
GE Healthcare is also working on improving its own ability to produce the materials required for cell therapies, by investing in its European and US capacity.