The pharma powerhouse is investing $300 million in a plant that could be vital for the future cancer trials.
AstraZeneca will be financially committing $300 million toward a state-of-the-art facility in Rockville, MD, a plant that will be responsible for creating cell therapy platforms in the United States for cancer trials, along with future commercial supply.1
The company is building off the momentum of previous deals made in the cell therapy space, including the purchase of Neogene Therapeutics and the agreements reached with Quell Therapeutics,2 Cellectis,3 AbelZeta,4 and Gracell Biotechnologies,5 which focused on type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease indications; the development of up to 10 novel cell and gene therapy candidate products; the targeting of solid tumors; and improving the efficacy of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies respectively.
At the Rockville plant, the production of T-cell therapies will be the main priority. The new site will help open up new positions in the field, and although the site’s initial focus is on cancer trials, AstraZeneca notes that there is always potential for expansion to other disease areas.
“We are incredibly excited that more than 150 new highly skilled jobs are being created to bring our scientific work and therapies to clinical trials which could transform the lives of patients around the world,” says Pam Cheng, EVP of global operations & IT and chief sustainability officer. “This new $300 million investment will accelerate our ambition to make next-generation cell therapy a reality, ensuring that we are ready to scale and meet the demands of patients.”
The Rockville facility will now be a part of AstraZeneca’s global manufacturing and supply network of nearly 30 manufacturing and supply sites that span 16 countries; from a convenience perspective, the new site is located less than five miles away from one of the AstraZeneca’s global R&D centers and happens to be near multiple universities, which is important to keep in mind when it comes to talent recruitment.
“AstraZeneca and the state of Maryland share a deep commitment to innovation. It makes us the perfect pairing for this next-generation cell therapy facility,” commented Maryland Gov. Wes Moore. “This significant investment in our life sciences sector will help maintain Maryland’s leadership in the industry and sharpen our competitive edge. We are deeply grateful for AstraZeneca’s partnership and continued commitment to our state.”
1. AstraZeneca expands US manufacturing footprint to accelerate ambitions in next-generation cell therapy discovery and development. Business Wire. News release. February 6, 2024. Accessed February 7, 2024. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240206590080/en/AstraZeneca-expands-US-manufacturing-footprint-to-accelerate-ambitions-in-next-generation-cell-therapy-discovery-and-development
2. AstraZeneca announces agreement with Quell Therapeutics to develop, manufacture and commercialize engineered T-regulatory cell therapies for autoimmune diseases. AstraZeneca. News release. June 9, 2023. Accessed February 7, 2024. https://www.astrazeneca.com/media-centre/press-releases/2023/astrazeneca-agreement-with-quell-therapeutics.html
3. AstraZeneca announces collaboration and investment agreement with Cellectis to accelerate cell therapy and genomic medicine ambitions. AstraZeneca. News release. November 1, 2023. Accessed February 7, 2024. https://www.astrazeneca.com/media-centre/press-releases/2023/astrazeneca-cell-and-gene-therapy-deal-w-cellectis.html
4. AbelZeta Pharma Announces Agreement with AstraZeneca to Co-Develop a novel Glypican 3 (GPC3) Armored CAR-T Therapy in China. PR Newswire. News release. December 7, 2023. Accessed February 7, 2024. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/abelzeta-pharma-announces-agreement-with-astrazeneca-to-co-develop-a-novel-glypican-3-gpc3-armored-car-t-therapy-in-china-302008822.html
5. AstraZeneca Reaches Agreement to Acquire Cell Therapy Specialist Gracell Biotechnologies. Pharmaceutical Commerce. News release. January 2, 2024. Accessed February 7, 2024. https://www.pharmaceuticalcommerce.com/view/astrazeneca-reaches-agreement-to-acquire-cell-therapy-specialist-gracell-biotechnologies