Orchard Therapeutics inks contract for new gene therapy manufacturing facility

By Murielle Gonzalez 17-Dec-2018

Build-out of new site in California is expected to begin in 2019

President and CEO of Orchard Therapeutics, Mark Rothera

President and CEO of Orchard Therapeutics, Mark Rothera

Biopharmaceutical company Orchard Therapeutics has signed a long-term lease agreement to build-out a gene therapy manufacturing facility in California, in the US. Details of the contract have not been disclosed.

Operating out of offices in London, San Francisco and Boston, Orchard Therapeutics specialises in gene therapies. CT understands the new facility is part of Orchard's strategy to cut production costs, and that the company is evaluating automation in the production line in a move to boost efficiency in manufacturing.

Located in Fremont, the new 150,000-square-foot facility increases Orchard’s footprint in California, where the Foster City and Menlo Park sites oversee the ongoing development and validation of the manufacture of its ex vivo gene therapy product candidates.

The announcement follows on from the company's acquisition of GlaxoSmithKline's gene therapy portfolio earlier this year. The deal included Strimvelis, a medicine approved in Europe to treat the immune deficiency known as ADA-SCID and dubbed the "bubble-boy disease."

As part of the acquisition, GSK agreed to continue clinical activities for the transition period through the end of this year.

cGMP manufacturing boost

Once operational, the new site will provide additional cGMP manufacturing capacity for both lentiviral vector and cryopreserved cell therapy products, enhancing Orchard’s ability to manufacture and deliver gene-corrected hematopoietic stem cells for a wide range of diseases on a global basis.

Orchard said it also plans to continue its close collaborations with the company’s contract manufacturing partners.

Stewart Craig, chief manufacturing officer of Orchard, explained: “The expansion of our California operations to now include a manufacturing facility is a critical step in advancing Orchard’s capabilities to supply products for our ex vivo gene therapy programs."

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The build-out of Orchard’s new manufacturing facility is expected to begin in 2019. The company plans to recruit more than 100 full-time employees over the next few years to support in-house manufacturing efforts.