New Pittsburgh biomanufacturing center to accelerate cell and gene therapy innovation

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags cell and gene therapies cell and gene therapy Pennsylvania Us

ElevateBio and the University of Pittsburgh have entered into a long-term strategic partnership to accelerate the development of innovative cell and gene therapies: with ElevateBio to locate its next BaseCamp process development and GMP manufacturing facility in Pittsburgh.

The Pitt BioForge Biomanufacturing Center will be fully equipped with its enabling technologies, including gene editing, induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) and cell, vector, and protein engineering capabilities.

The new facility is expected to generate more than 170 permanent full-time jobs, 900 construction jobs and 360 off-site support jobs.

“This announcement supports the region's rise as a leader in cell and gene therapy and advances our vision of bringing an entirely new commercial manufacturing sector to the area,"​ said Patrick Gallagher, Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh.

BaseCamp facility

In November last year, the Richard King Mellon Foundation announced a $100m grant to the University of Pittsburgh to create the Pitt BioForge Biomanufacturing Center: representing the largest single-project grant in the Foundation's 75-year history.

Now, the 30-year agreement with Cambridge, Massachusetts cell and gene therapy developer ElevateBio will see ElevateBio extend its manufacturing footprint to Pittsburgh, building on its first BaseCamp biomanufacturing facility in Waltham, Massachusetts (the company’s ‘new disruptive business model’ addresses challenges in CGT with a suite of technologies; alongside the BaseCamp manufacturing capability; to create an end-to-end technology platform offering).

“To realize our vision of transforming the cell and gene therapy field for decades to come, broadening our footprint across metropolitan areas is a key priority for us, and we are thrilled that the University of Pittsburgh will be home to one of our BaseCamp facilities,”​ said David Hallal, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ElevateBio. “We’ve identified Pittsburgh as an ideal location to extend our BaseCamp presence as it sits at the intersection of science, technology, and talent.”

Pitt Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences, Dr. Anantha Shekhar, said the University of Pittsburgh – a top recipient of NIH research funding – has ‘exceptional emerging research’ but to date has lacked access to high-quality process science and manufacturing capabilities.  

“As we position ourselves to become the next global hub for life sciences and biotech, we were in search of the right partner to help us realize our vision, and ElevateBio’s expertise and reputation in cell and gene therapy made them the perfect partner to accelerate our ability to build our biomanufacturing center of excellence.”

Sam Reiman, Director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation, added: “This partnership between two national life-science powerhouses – the University of Pittsburgh and ElevateBio - is a consequential step forward in realizing our shared vision to make Pittsburgh a national and international biomanufacturing destination.

“Pitt BioForge is a generational opportunity to bring extraordinary economic-development benefits to our region, and life-changing cell and gene therapies to patients - distribution that will be accelerated and enhanced by Pitt’s partnership with UPMC. ElevateBio could have chosen to locate its next biomanufacturing hub anywhere in the world; the fact they are choosing to come to Pittsburgh is another powerful validation of our region, and the Pitt BioForge project at Hazelwood Green.”

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the County of Allegheny also provided incentive grants to ElevateBio in support of this partnership.

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