A viral vector player is expanding its footprint in Basque Country amid heightened demand
As the demand for viral vectors grows unabated amid the Covid-19 pandemic, a CDMO is dropping a serious investment to build out a new Basque Country facility.
The new facility is in the same technology park as Viralgen’s existing manufacturing site. It increases capacity five-fold, and clients should expect the first batches from its 2,000-liter bioreactor released by the middle of next year. The $83.1 million investment will turn into a $142.4 million tab after the final two buildings are completed. The expansion will bring 130 new jobs to Viralgen, which should grow the team to 250 people by 2022.
Viralgen got its start in 2017 and specializes in AAV manufacturing from preclinical trials through Phases II.
“Production is a real bottleneck in the market, and we will offer a full service at a very competitive cost of goods to our partners. This will highly benefit patients around the world who are in need of gene therapy products,” CEO Javier García Cogorro said in a press release.
A shortage in viral vectors, dating back to before the start of the pandemic, has led to delays in manufacturing gene therapies and vaccines. J&J and AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccines both use viral vectors, as does the Novartis gene therapy Zolgensma. As cell and gene therapies have grown in popularity, a viral vector shortage is causing manufacturers to think outside the box for ways to even out the supply.
“Demand for safe, reliable gene therapy manufacturing capabilities is growing as more companies enter the gene therapy space,” said Sheila Mikhail, co-Founder and CEO of AskBio, said in a press release. “Viralgen plays a critical role to AskBio and the industry by providing safe, reliable AAV vectors for clinical and commercial use, and this expansion allows the highly skilled Viralgen team to maximize those efforts.”