The Durham, North Carolina facility was purchased by bluebird bio in November 2017. Once the facility is completed, the company will have invested $80m (€71m) into the plant equipped with multiple manufacturing suites. Additionally, the site includes warehouse and quality control testing laboratories.
Equipment qualification at the facility is currently underway, with construction already complete. While the facility will begin by producing a clinical and commercial supply of lentiviral vectors needed for the company’s gene and cell therapies, the facility will have the capability to accommodate expansion and manufacturing of commercial drug products.
The 125,000ft2 facility currently employees 50 scientists, engineers, manufacturing and operations personal but is estimated to grow to 70 employees by the end of 2019.
Bluebird bio has multi-year agreements with three manufacturing partners in the US and Europe for its lentiviral vector production. Novasep and MilliporeSigma in Belgium, Merck KGaA in California, and Brammer Bio in Massachusetts.
Additionally, bluebird bio is partnered with Lonza, and apceth Biopharma to produce drug product for Lenti-D and LentiGlobin.
Bluebird bio did not respond to our request for comment.