Fujifilm Dio signs long term supply deal and buys plant from Atara

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies will buy Atara Biotherapeutics’ T-Cell operations and facility in Thousand Oaks, California for $100 million. 

The deal will also see the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) sign a long-term supply agreement covering both clinical and commercial production of Atara’s range allogeneic cell therapies.  

Specific candidates will include tabelecleucel, ATA188 for multiple sclerosis and the allogeneic CAR T therapies, ATA3271 and ATA3219.

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies also said it will expand use of the Thousand Oaks facility – which is known as ATOM – to manufacture a broader portfolio of cell therapies.  

The CDMO said it plans to offer positions to approximately 140 current highly skilled manufacturing and quality staff at the site. 

CEO Martin Meeson cited the knowhow and experience Atara workforce as a big plus for the CDMO.  

“The collective expertise of the team will further support our efforts…We also look forward to adding the facility to Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’ existing global footprint and to bolster the expansion of our advanced therapies CDMO business.” 

Capital resources 

Atara will retain the recently established Atara Research Centre (ARC), which houses preclinical, translational science and process development capabilities. It also plans to keep on its process development workforce. 

The firm also said it will retain its technical operations team at the ARC facility to manage external manufacturing, quality, logistics and supply. 

Atara CEO Pascal Touchon cited Fujifilm Diosynth’s knowhow and experience as core to the agreement, commenting that the CDMO “shares our pioneering culture and belief that allogeneic cell therapies will transform the future of medicine.” 

He added, “We believe that now is the right time for a strategic relationship with FDB to provide us with expert manufacturing capabilities, as needed. Accordingly, we will further focus capital resources on the development and commercialization of our pipeline of potentially transformative therapeutics for serious diseases.” 

CDMOs 

The deal follows a few months after Atara teamed with Pierre Fabre to commercialize tabelecleucel, which treats Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive cancers – in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Other Emerging Markets.

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