Chinese oncology player is the latest to join the North Carolina manufacturing party with 2 new plants in the offing
While Boston and the Bay Area reign supreme in terms of biotech hotspots, other hubs are having their chance in the sun amid a flurry of cash flooding the industry. North Carolina, for instance, has seen a ton of companies looking to establish a footprint in the state — and now a Shanghai-based oncology player will join the fold.
CARsgen Therapeutics will open two new sites in Raleigh-Durham, creating the company’s first manufacturing hub that will complement its clinical development site in Houston, the company said Monday.
The plans include building a 37,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to handle clinical and early-stage commercial manufacturing as well as a 100,000-square-foot commercial plant nearby. The new facility will cost about $157 million, and create around 200 jobs, the North Carolina Department of Commerce said in a release.
The company specializes in CAR-T cell therapies, which can target leukemia, lymphoma and solid tumors. It currently has launched clinical studies of CT053 and CT041 in the US, and CEO Zonghai Li said in a statement that the new facilities will help produce those therapies.
In 2019, CT053 was granted regenerative medicine advanced therapy designation by the FDA to treat relapsed and/or refractory multiple myeloma, based on data from the company’s Phase I study in heavily pre-treated multiple myeloma patients in China. It also received investigational new drug status for CT041 from the FDA. CT041 is the first CAR-Claudin18.2 treatment targeting solid tumors to enter clinical trials, the company said.
The company closed its Series C fundraising in November 2020 with $186 million from private equity firm Loyal Valley Capital and joined by Lilly Asia Ventures, Shiyu Capital, and Summer Capital.
CARsgen is just the latest company to set up its manufacturing operations in the Raleigh-Durham area. In March, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies tapped Holly Springs as the site for its $2 billion cell culture media superplant, pledging to add 725 jobs in the area by 2028.
The plant will come online in spring 2025 and house eight 20,000-liter bioreactors with the potential to expand and add a further 24 bioreactors of the same size “based on market demand,” the company says. The site will also include commercial-scale, automated fill-finish and assembly, packaging and labeling services.
Invitae Corporation announced the addition of a 250,000-square-foot facility in the area in April. Around the same time, CDMO Abzena unveiled plans to spend $200 million to build a biologics center in Sanford. Abzena’s expansion in the area will add 325 jobs, the company said.