Biotech bluebird opens $80 million gene therapy complex

Mar 26, 2019

Bluebird bio opened its first wholly owned manufacturing facility in Durham, North Carolina. The 125,000-square-foot facility will produce lentiviral vector for the company’s investigational gene and cell therapies.

Currently, bluebird employs approximately 50 scientists, engineers, manufacturing and operations personnel at the facility and is on track to grow to approximately 70 employees by the end of 2019.

Bluebird purchased the facility in November 2017. Once completed, the company will have invested more than $80 million building a site equipped with multiple manufacturing suites capable of producing lentiviral vector (LVV). The facility also includes warehouse and quality control testing laboratories. The facility construction is substantially complete and equipment qualification is underway. Initially, bluebird bio expects the facility to produce clinical and commercial supply of lentiviral vector. The facility is large enough to accommodate future expansion, including the possibility of manufacturing commercial drug product.

In addition to the Durham facility, bluebird bio also has multi-year agreements with three manufacturing partners in the United States and Europe: Brammer Bio, Novasep and MilliporeSigma, the Life Science business of Merck KGaA. Each of these partners is collaborating with bluebird bio on production of lentiviral vector across all programs. bluebird bio also partners with Lonza and apceth Biopharma to produce drug product for Lenti-D and LentiGlobin. Bluebird has partnered with Regeneron on cancer therapies and with Celgene on CAR-T therapies.

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