After raising $324 million last year, Allogene Therapeutics says it is planning to construct a cell therapy manufacturing facility near San Francisco, California.
Allogene Therapeutics is focused on developing allogeneic, or off-the-shelf, T cell. In October 2018, the San Francisco-headquartered firm raised $324 million (€283 million) in an initial public offering (IPO).
Since its launch, the cell therapy firm has been working with a contract manufacturing organization (CMO) but now Allogene has told BioProcess Insider that it plans to build a cell therapy manufacturing facility to bring production of its burgeoning oncology pipeline in house.
“Manufacturing is a key differentiator in cell therapy, so control of your own operations is critical,” spokesperson Christine Cassiano said.
“While we are not currently providing projections for this facility, we can say that manufacturing is key to our success and that the entire technical operations team, of which manufacturing is a part, is expected to make up the largest team as Allogene expands.”
The plant will be in the San Francisco Bay area, it was confirmed, and is unlikely to be operational until at least 2021. “Facilities can take approximately two years to have operational for commercial product.”
The plans align with Allogene’s strategy as outlined in its IPO prospectus. One of the firm’s key pillars is to “build a leading manufacturing platform. Our off-the-shelf approach is dependent on state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, and we are building a technical operations organization with fully integrated in-house expertise in clinical and commercial engineered T cell manufacturing.”
David Chang and Arie Belldegrun launched Allogene last year. The executives sold their former chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell business, Kite Pharma, to Gilead Sciences in 2017 for $11.9 billion.
Allogene’s lead candidate UCART19 is being co-sponsored by Servier and is one of a number of partnered CAR-T programs Allogene took over from Pfizer. The Big Pharma firm traded its rights to UCART19 and 16 preclinical CAR-T candidates for a 25 percent stake in the new entity last April.