Bayer CDMO Viralgen opens doors for AAV manufacturing

Viralgen has opened an $83 million AAV production site in San Sebastian, the first gene therapy production facility in Spain.

Contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Viralgen said in November 2019 it would be constructing Spain’s first commercial gene therapy production site at the Miramon Technology Park in San Sebastian to add capacity for gene therapy manufacturing services.

The president of the Basque Government in Spain, Iñigo Urkullu and Pedro Duque, Minister of Science and Innovation of the Spanish government opened the facility on June 30.

Image: iStock/Tuangtong

The facility ups capacity more than five-fold and is fully equipped to support customer projects from pre-clinical stages through to commercialization.

Equipment and facility certification processes will occur throughout 2021 and it is expected that the first 2,000 L batches will be released by mid-2022.

The firm had estimated the facility would cost $55 million but has since updated this figure to more than $83 million for its first phase and a total of $142 million once the next two buildings are complete.

“Information was reported when we first started the construction planning, which has been adjusted to reality in these years. Now, in addition to the equipment, validation is included,” a spokeswoman for Viralgen told BioProcess Insider.

To service the facility, Viralgen will add 130 additional jobs taking its team total to over 250 people in 2022.

German pharma giant Bayer added Viralgen and its Pro10 AAV platform through its $2 billion acquisition of Asklepios BioPharmaceutical (AskBio) in October 2020.