VectorBuilder shells out $500m for China viral vector plant

VectorBuilder is constructing a $500 million gene delivery and research campus in Guangzhou, China to expand its capabilities and production capacity.

Contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) VectorBuilder, provides gene delivery solutions says it will take four years to build what it has named the “Gene Delivery Research and Manufacturing Campus.”

According to the firm, the campus will include 30 production suites designed to manufacture lentivirus, plasmids, messenger RNA (mRNA), adeno-associated virus (AAV), cell lines and other types of viral and non-viral vectors.

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“Modern biology is largely built on gene delivery technologies, but until recently, such technologies are mostly limited to research use. With the recent advancement of genetic medicine, gene vectors are now rapidly moving into clinical use, including CAR-T, gene therapy, mRNA vaccines and oncolytic viruses,” Bruce Lahn, chief scientist at VectorBuilder said.

“We are therefore expanding our R&D capabilities, as well as our manufacturing capacity, to continue leading the way in the development of innovative gene delivery technologies that will make research more efficient, and genetic medicine more effective and affordable.”

Additionally, the facility will have the ability to offer clinical research organization (CRO) services for vector optimization, functional validation, research for vector biodistribution, absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME), pharmacokinetics (PK), pharmacodynamics (PD), and toxicology.

The firm claims there will be 100,000 square meters of floor space and around 2,000 employees will be needed to staff the site.

The campus will also act as a research institute committed to developing gene delivery technologies that look to advance efficiency, safety, cost, and payload to meet the current demand in the vector-based vaccines and virus-based cancer therapeutics space. Furthermore, educational activities to train scientists and engineers will be carried out.

The CDMO, which has entered into various partnerships with companies such as Univercells Technologies and GSL Biotech, does not plan to stop here.

This project is “part of a global expansion by VectorBuilder, with additional R&D and manufacturing sites planned in the US, Europe and Japan,” said firm.