The 67,000-square-foot facility will be located in Oceanside, US, as part of an existing Gilead site, and will be responsible for the development and manufacture of viral vectors.
Kite, a newly independent subsidiary of Gilead, will utilize the vectors for the creation of Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel), its chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T therapy for the treatment of lymphoma. The treatment is currently being explored in five clinical trials for various indications within oncology.
The company also noted that it will use the supply of viral vector for the development of its investigational T cell receptor and tumor neoantigen targeting cell therapies.
Constrains on vector supply
Tim Moore, EVP of technical operations at Kite, explained in a statement that viral vectors are key components for the development of cell therapy products, but external manufacturing capacity is not well established and supply is limited.
He explained how the facility would mitigate these constraints, “By pursuing our own viral vector facility, we will be able to advance viral vector development and supply to allow for accelerated process development of current CAR T and future pipeline therapies, while continuing to partner with external suppliers.”
The constrains of supply of vectors used in cell and gene therapies production has led other companies developing these treatments to build out their own facilities, such as bluebird bio recently opening its first manufacturing facility for lentiviral vectors.
Latest Kite expansion
Since acquiring Kite in a $11.9bn (€10bn) deal, Gilead has invested heavily in the manufacturing side of the cell therapy specialist.
This includes building a plant in the Netherlands for the production of Yescarta, which Dominique Tonelli, head of medical affairs at Kite, told us would reduce the time spent manufacturing the treatment by at least three days. As well as this, the company is continuing to invest in US manufacturing capabilities.
Kite also expanded a partnership with MaxCyte to explore non-viral cell engineering.