Audentes invests in large-scale gene therapy manufacture

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Darwin Brandis)
(Image: Getty/Darwin Brandis)

Related tags Audentes Therapeutics Astellas North carolina Pfizer Gene therapy

Audentes augments its in-house production capacity with additional plans for a North Carolina facility.

The project will see the company invest $109m (€100m) to ready the 135,000-square-foot gene therapy manufacturing facility by next year.

Audentes Therapeutics already owns large-scale manufacturing capabilities, which Astellas signposted as one of the reasons behind its decision to acquire the company for $3bn at the end of last year​.

Once operational in 2021, the plant will create 209 jobs in Lee County, US. The facility will continue to be expanded over the next two years, whilst recruitment will continue through 2026.

North Carolina Biotechnology Center (NCBC) stated​ the average salary of employees will be over twice the average for the area, at $83,900.

Dependent upon meeting hiring milestones, Audentes will be in line for an investment grant worth up to $3.7m. In addition, Lee County and the city of Sanford are also offering up to $5.7m in unspecified incentives.

Architectural rendering of the facility. Image: Audentes/Business Wire

Such a financial package sees Audentes become the latest company to choose the state of North Carolina as the location for its manufacturing facility. NCBC suggested that Audentes had mooted building the facility in the state of its headquarters in California, as well as Massachusetts and Colorado.

Pfizer recently came to the same conclusion​ on where to house its own gene therapy manufacturing facility with plans to spend $500m to build out its presence in the state – though the company already possesses a significant presence, with approximately 3,600 employees located in the state.

Both companies will be based within the state’s ‘Research Triangle’, which counts a number of pharma companies as major employers and features three major research universities in North Carolina State University, Duke University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

North Carolina’s Commerce Secretary, Anthony Copeland, commented on the news that the state now holds the largest biomanufacturing workforce in the US, and that the gene therapy space is a growing niche within that number.

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