Pharmaron to expand UK gene therapy biz at ex-AbbVie plant

CDMO Pharmaron Beijing has ploughed £151 million ($186 million) into a former-AbbVie facility in Liverpool, UK.

China-owned Pharmaron acquired the facility from AbbVie in March 2021 for $119 million, propelling it into the cell and gene therapy (CGT) manufacturing space.

Now the contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) is building an additional 86,000 square-foot viral vector and DNA manufacturing facility, bringing a four-fold increase in gene therapy process development and analytical capacity accommodating DNA and RNA drug substance, as well as viral vector and drug product formulation.


Pharmaron is investing £151 million ($186 million) into the project, including a grant from the UK Government’s Life Sciences Innovation Manufacturing Fund (LSMIF). The LSMIF round of funding across four companies was £17 million, though the precise amount attributed to Pharmaron has not been divulged.

The completion of the facility is anticipated in 2024 and Ellison said the CDMO expects to have around 350 members of staff once operational.

“Pharmaron has developed excellent University links for graduates, is a founding member of the Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community, sponsors post graduate degrees and is located in Liverpool, Northwest England which is an excellent hub for biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical manufacturing companies. The expansion will also provide career development opportunities for experienced staff,” Derek Ellison, vice president, Biologics Services Europe, Pharmaron told BioProcess Insider.