WuXi ATU opens Philly cell and gene therapy testing center

WuXi ATU has opened a testing facility in Philadelphia, US to cater for growing demand for the cell and gene therapy sector.

The new test center expands the campus that WuXi ATU – a subsidiary of WuXi AppTec – established late in 2020.

A company spokesman told us “The new Philadelphia facility will enable us to triple our capacity for critical tests related to the characterization of lentivirus and adeno-associated-virus (AAV) products such as replication competency (RCL and RCAAV assays) and titer (Infectious titer assay) methods, and for the characterization of cell therapy products such as potency assays and flow cytometry-based cell phenotyping assays.”

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Wuxi has a long history in Pennsylvania which, combined with proximity to its customer base, made it the obvious choice for the new facility according to the spokesman.

“We have been in the Philadelphia area for over two decades and have grown to be the largest tenant in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard, occupying more than 400,000 square feet, which includes our recent site expansion that has been constructed to serve as a dedicated testing facility.

“The area is home to the first FDA approved CAR-T Cell Therapy and Gene Therapy, earning Philadelphia the nickname ‘Cellicon Valley.’ With the city’s rich history in Cell and Gene Therapy, existing healthcare infrastructure, experienced talent pool, and proximity to renowned hospitals, WuXi Advanced Therapies is proud to call Philadelphia its North American hub.”

Revenue

The Philadelphia opening follows a few months after WuXi ATU opened a testing, process development and manufacturing services centre in Lin-gang, near Shanghai.

The Lin-gang facility offers integrated development, manufacturing, and testing services for viral vectors and cell therapies. It contains more than 200 independent suites and six complete production lines, including an independent liquid distribution center and independent GMP standard sterile filling isolator.

China has been an important driver of late. According to the firm’s third quarter results presentation revenue for the period declined 5.2% to RMB 0.74bn, which it attributed to the pandemic and BLA filing delays by cell therapy clients. In contrast, revenue generated in China increased 187%.

WuXi ATU provided testing services for 326 projects and manufacturing services for 45 pre-clinical and Phase I projects, 6 Phase II projects, 10 Phase III projects.

The firm said that, “Backlog and revenue show sign of recovery in the US,” adding that recent investments had increased manufacturing efficiency and utilization rate.

It also said efforts to improve plasmid processing as well as LVV and AVV operations would lower the cost of viral vector manufacturing.

According to the WuXi spokesman “The expansion at the Philly site will supplement WuXi ATU’s global footprint and will further join with other sites in the United States, United Kingdom and China to enable global customers with enhanced capacity and efficient services.”

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