Maturing gene therapy pipelines driving Catalent growth and expansion

As pharma’s gene therapy pipeline matures, Catalent plans to invest more in the sector to meet high viral vector demand and advance growth.

For the third quarter 2022, contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) Catalent reported total revenues of $1.27 billion, an increase of 21% year-on-year.

Catalent’s biologics segment came out as the top contributor to the CDMO’s financial performance, showcasing $698 million, representing net revenue growth of 30%over last year. Part of this success was due to “a notable increase” in viral vector demand, CEO John Chiminski told shareholders, with the CDMO increasingly catering for numerous large gene therapy customers.

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His incoming successor Alessandro Maselli said “the reality is that our [gene therapy] pipeline is stronger, but is also maturing. So, there are assets that are transitioning to later stages of the pipeline and those assets going into later stage[s] require much higher quantities of viral vectors, which drive growth.”

With larger quantities of viral vectors needed, Maselli referenced the CDMO’s continued investment in its gene therapy assets, stating that Catalent’s Harmans, Maryland plant is “on track to open eight additional suites by the end of this calendar year, bringing the total to 18 GMP manufacturing suites.”

The firm invested $230 million in October last year to add three additional commercial-scale viral vector manufacturing suites at the Harmans site, as well as expanding storage capabilities for ultra-low temperature freezers, just-in-time inventory space,and its water-for-injection infrastructure.

More recently, the CDMO acquired a commercial-scale manufacturing facility in Princeton, New Jersey from Erytech Pharma for $44.5 million.

The plant has 16 suites for production and Catalent will support Erytech’s lead product candidate, which treats acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“We are also in the process of leasing 12 buildings nearby to enable future expansion. Similar to the cell therapy campus we built through acquisition in Gosselies, we envision Princeton becoming a strategic campus for cell therapy development, clinical and commercial scale cell therapy manufacturing in North America,” said Maselli.

In November 2020 Catalent predicted that gene therapies would drive growth in the sector in the with Chiminski telling shareholders at the time that the firm was confident in the space and its direction.