Vigene upping viral vector capacity by 50% through Maryland facility

CDMO Vigene Biosciences has leased a 52,000 square foot facility in Maryland to support ongoing demand for viral vectors.

The contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) has entered a lease agreement, adding a facility in Rockville, Maryland with supporting infrastructure, including HVAC and flooring and Water for injection (WFI) system in place

The additional manufacturing space will complement Vigene’s nearby GMP manufacturing plant, acquired in 2016 through the purchase of assets from Omnia Biologics. The lease brings Vigene’s total lab and manufacturing space to 110,000 square-feet, and increases the number of production suites up by 50%.

Image: 14200 Shady Grove Road, Rockville, MD. C/o Google

“We are very excited about the fact that this expansion increases our GMP facility from current 10 GMP suites to 15 GMP suites,” Jeffrey Hung, chief commercial officer, told BioProcess Insider.

“We will establish and commission two 2,000 L single use bioreactor GMP suites with both upstream and downstream production trains on one floor for commercial viral vector production; and multiple large-scale fermenters on another floor for commercial GMP plasmid production. The facility is to serve both clinical and commercial manufacturing.”

The decision to lease the plant came on the back of “ongoing demand for viral vectors both clinical grade and for commercial launch,” Hung said.

“We commit to supporting our current and future clients to support their success through clinical trials into commercial launch by either project-based or dedicated suite-based CDMO model.”

Demand for viral vector manufacturing to support cell and gene therapies, as well as vaccines, continues to rocket, and CDMOs are ramping up their capabilities feed this. Some recent examples of heavy investment in viral vector capacity come from Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies and Thermo Fisher.

Vigene plans to commission the facility by the end of 2021 and will retain the 125 staff currently positioned at the plant. A further 245 new jobs could be added by the end of 2025, the firm says.

While Hung did not say who the previous tenant was, but the site at 14200 Shady Grove Road has housed GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine research and development campus since 2003.

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