Biopharma giants make major manufacturing commitments

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Two US biopharmaceutical companies have announced expansions and commitments to increase manufacturing of therapeutics.

Based in Massachusetts Intellia Therapeutics announced that it entered into a lease agreement to develop a 140,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Waltham, MA. The manufacturing facility exists primarily to support the manufacturing of key components for its investigational CRISPR-based therapies in a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) compliant facility. The purpose of the new facility is to support preclinical development through commercial supply and provide capacity and capabilities in support of the company’s expanding pipeline and commercial readiness.

The custom installation is expected to be operational in 2024. Intellia leases 65,000 square feet of office and laboratory space, and when it exceeded that space, an additional 60,000 square feet was leased in two other Cambridge facilities. Although the company has not indicated whether its new growth will lead to the creation of more jobs, the company employed more than 300 people in 2021, and it was listing as one of the Top 12 Biotechnology Companies Hiring in 2022 by BioSpace.

Intellia recently team up with ONK therapy conduct research on cancer immunotherapy based on natural killer cells. ONK Therapeutics will use Intellia’s proprietary gene-editing platform and lipid nanoparticle-based delivery technologies to develop up to five allogeneic natural killer cell therapies.

In exchange, Intellia is expected to receive up to $184 million per product and royalties up to a mid-figure. Intelia too acquired Rewrite the therapy and its DNA-writing technology after the company showed innovative promise with the introduction of two new CRISPR therapies. The acquisition leaves Intellia poised to usher in a new wave of CRISPR therapy for patients.

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Modern and Thermo Fisher Scientific to have Between in a long-term agreement to manufacture its COVID-19 vaccine, as well as other experimental treatments using mRNA technology. The two companies have partnered in recent years to support the development of pipeline programs for clinical research and contract manufacturing services. This includes rapidly scaling Moderna’s aseptic fill-finish services and COVID-19 vaccine packaging. In June 2021, Moderna started Operating at Thermo Fisher’s commercial manufacturing site in North Carolina to fill, finish and package millions of vaccine doses.

Under the 15-year strategic collaboration agreement, Thermo Fisher will provide dedicated capacity for a wide range of aseptic fill-finish services such as freeze-dried and liquid filling. It will also provide inspection, labeling and final packaging services. Leaders from each company said the partnership will provide strategic manufacturing capabilities to produce a robust mRNA platform and pipeline.

In addition to partnering with Thermo Fisher to expand its manufacturing capabilities, Moderna also recently in partnership with Adium Pharma, a leading private pharmaceutical company in Latin America. Through this alliance, commercialization of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine will begin in 18 Latin American countries, including Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina, addressing the need for a global commercial strategy in the fight against COVID-19. Moderna already has a commercial presence in 11 countries around the world and has announced plans to expand its reach to ten additional markets in Asia and Europe in 2022.

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