Artiva to build Californian NK cell therapy manufacturing facility

The facility in San Diego will support off-the-shelf NK and CAR-NK therapeutic manufacturing to treat solid and haematological cancers, the firm says.

Construction of the 52,000 square-foot facility is already underway and is expected to open in 2022. The plant adds to Artiva’s cell therapy manufacturing site in South Korea.

COO of Artiva Peter Flynn told BioProcess Insider that the site in Korea will continue its operations and the San Diego facility “is an additional site, it is not a replacement.”

The new San Diego facility. Image c/o Artiva

“We can be very efficient with the square footage and the footprint of the manufacturing centre. The new facility is really about bringing manufacturing onshore to the US [and] to the point that it could be used ultimately in a commercial setting. We’re preparing for the future.”

The facility will have four manufacturing suites, separate fill-finish and freezer suites, as well as suites specifically for lentivirus production.

The plant is set to support the company’s chimeric antigen receptor natural killer (CAR-NK) programs, AB-201 and AB-202. AB-201 is a novel HER2-specific cell therapy for the treatment of solid tumors and AB-202 is a CD19-specific cell therapy aiming to treat B-cell malignancies.

Artiva plans to file INDs for both candidates in 2022.

Major biotech hub

The facility, of which financial details have not been disclosed, is being redeveloped by Alexandria Real Estate Equities in San Diego.

“San Diego is one of the major biotech hubs in the US,” Flynn said.

“There is a great talent pool here. There is manufacturing experience here, from traditional, to biologics and there is a growing cell therapy expertise in the area [meaning] there is a of a cluster of talent.”

Flynn did not provide a specific number of employees the firm expects to hire. However, he did say Artiva will “continue to build on collaborations but we don’t necessarily need to partner with academic centres. That’s just not required.”

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