Author Archives: Gareth Macdonald

Novartis inks 5 years vector supply extension with Oxford Biomedica

Oxford Biomedica will keep supplying Novartis with the vectors needed to make Kymriah and other CAR-T products under a five-year deal extension. The new agreement will see Oxford Biomedica receive $75 million for manufacturing, undisclosed process development payments, a facility reservation fee as well as previously agreed royalties on chimeric antigen receptor (CAR-T) product sales. The extension deal also requires the firm ensure at least two manufacturing facilities are capable of commercial supply. Oxford Biomedica will make the vectors at…

VGXI adds RNA suite to tap growing cell and gene therapy market

VGXI has set up an RNA pilot production suite at its facility in Woodlands, Texas citing growing demand from gene therapy developers. The GMP-grade mRNA manufacturing unit will support customer projects from initial plasmid construction through linearization, in vitro translation, mRNA purification, and comprehensive quality control testing according to VGXI. VGXI plans to launch clinical grade mRNA manufacturing services next year. Methodical expansion The pilot plant was set up as part of the VGXI licensing deal with the Houston Methodist…

Charles River bids $380m to buy cell therapy services firm HemaCare

HemaCare will boost Charles River Laboratories’ offering in the cell therapy materials and leukapheresis space – a market predicted to grow to $2 billion in the next decade. The deal will add expand Charles River’s cell therapy offering. HemaCare provides human primary cells as well as services used in the discovery, development and commercial production of cell therapies. Leukapheresis – the separation of white cells from blood samples – is a core HemaCare offering. The firm provides leukapheresis services for…

Avid buoyant despite top client Halozyme’s restructure

Reorganization at key client Halozyme will not hit revenues says Avid Bioservices, which predicts ongoing facility revamp and expanding customer base to drive growth in the rest of FY2020. Halozyme Therapeutics recently said it would focus on its Enhanze delivery technology after HALO-301 – its candidate pancreatic cancer drug – fell short in Phase III trials. The San Diego biotech will close its oncology operations and reduce its headcount by approximately 55%, or approximately 160 positions. (Read Xconomy’s report here).…

Sanofi wins US HHS $226m contract to expand PA vaccine capacity

The US Government has contracted Sanofi Pasteur to increase recombinant vaccine capacity at its Pennsylvania plant as part of US efforts to prepare for a flu pandemic. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shared details of the six-year, $226 million contract this week. Sanofi will work with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to (BARDA) double capacity at the plant. The contract includes options that would see Sanofi retrofit a second facility to make adjuvant; develop…

AI will help Novartis make personalized meds, says Amazon

Amazon says Novartis’ personalized medicines operations will benefit from AI and machine learning collaboration. Novartis confirmed it had asked Amazon Web Services (AWS) to rejig is supply lines last week. The drug firm said it “will leverage AWS’s broadest portfolio of cloud services to build an enterprise-wide data and analytics platform that will transform business operations. According to AWS, the plan is to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to “reimagine” the Swiss firm’s manufacturing, supply chain, and delivery operations.…

Zelluna and Glycostem team on natural killer TCRs for solid tumors

Zelluna Immunotherapy and Glycostem Therapeutics have teamed up to develop TCR cell therapies for cancers, including hard-to-treat solid tumors. The partnership will combine Zelluna’s T-cell receptors (TCR) with The Netherlands-based Glycostem’s umbilical cord-derived natural killer cells. The TCR-NK cells will be made at the latter’s manufacturing facility in the Netherlands. A Zelluna spokesman told us TCR-NKs can target a broader range of tumors than cell therapies made using chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). “Adoptive cell therapies, both CAR and TCR, use…

Polyplus ups reagent range to support growing CGT space

Polyplus-transfection SA has expanded its reagent portfolio, citing the growing number of candidate cell and gene therapies nearing commercialization as the driver. The French biotech launched a range of sizes of its PEIpro-GMP reagent in single-use bags and bottles this week. Transfection reagents facilitate cellular uptake of nucleic acids. Polyplus premiered PEIpro-GMP last year, marketing it as “the first transfection solution for the gene and cell therapy industry that is compliant with global cGMP viral vector manufacturing requirements.” The expanded…

Boston next-gen manufacturing hub will ease bottlenecks, consortium

Cell and viral vector backlogs reduce patient access to next-generation medicines and slow R&D says the consortium behind a $50 million innovation hub. The group, led by Harvard University, made the comments this week, explaining that while some contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) offer cell line and vector services, growing demand means developers can face delays. “Manufacturing backlogs are slowing the production of cells that are essential to research, holding up the availability of new treatments headed for the…

Lack of UK cell and gene therapy skills a concern according to CGTC survey

UK cell and gene therapy firms are worried a shortage of skilled manufacturing staff will slow growth with some concerned Brexit will exacerbate the problem. The findings come from a new skills survey by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGTC) – an organisation set up to support the sector by non-departmental government body, Innovate UK. Of the 41 companies that responded, 98% said they planned to expand their headcount over the next five years. Of these, 83% raised concerns…