VectorBuilder drops $500M on new China campus

April 13, 2022

Chicago-based CDMO VectorBuilder just put up half a billion dollars to build a new manufacturing plant and research institute in Guangzhou, China.

The new factory, which will measure about 100,000 square meters, will take four years and two phases to build. The new campus is part of VectorBuilder’s push to expand its R&D capabilities and production capacity.

With 30 production suites, designed to manufacture certain bio products used in creating vector-based vaccines, like plasmids, mRNA, AAV, lentivirus and cell line, the new campus will expand VectorBuilder’s R&D capabilities and production capacity and is expected to bring in 2,000 staff members.

Besides upping its manufacturing abilities, the new facility will have a research institute to work on developing new and better gene delivery technologies to meet demand in clinical applications like gene therapy, vector-based vaccines and virus-based cancer therapeutics, according to VectorBuilder. There will also be a place to train scientists and engineers in the gene delivery field.

VectorBuilder focuses on creating gene therapies from vectors. The use of vectors in gene therapy has been slowed by difficulties in figuring out how to manufacture them. However, VectorBuilder’s intense focus on developing vectors to be used in gene therapy seems to be paying off. The company boasts clients such as Novartis and the MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“Some experts predict that in 10 to 20 years, vector-based drugs will become the third pillar of medicine, after small-molecule drugs and protein-based biologics,” said Dr. Bruce Lahn, chief scientist at VectorBuilder. “We are therefore expanding our R&D capabilities, as well as our manufacturing capacity, to continue leading the way in the development of innovative gene delivery technologies that will make research more efficient, and genetic medicine more effective and affordable.”

The growth is part of VectorBuilder’s plan for global expansion. The company has future sites planned in the U.S., Europe and Japan.