Lineage Cell Therapeutics opens new California R&D facility and expands Israel manufacturing site
Last year, Roche and Genentech paid $50 million for licensing rights to Lineage Cell Therapeutics’ OpRegen program, a cell therapy that looks to regenerate healthy versions of retinal pigment epithelial cells in patients’ eyes.
Now the biotech is growing its physical presence with a new facility in the US and an expansion in Israel.
Lineage has opened the doors to a 12,000-square-foot R&D facility in Carlsbad, CA, and announced an expansion to its GMP manufacturing facility in Jerusalem. The expansion in Israel will allow for the development of more large-scale manufacturing processes and the continued supply of materials necessary for the Phase I/II of OpRegen.
Lineage CEO Brian Culley told Endpoints News in an interview that the company seized an opportunity to grab more space at the site in Israel, which not only allows the team to perform some of the activities for Roche and Genentech. but also gives it more breathing space to work on other projects as well.
The site currently employs 50 staffers. The expansion adds another 1,000 square feet of space and is currently manufacturing clinical trial materials. In California, Culley said that the site would support the work going on in Israel and also house some of Lineage’s early-stage projects, enabling them to attract more partners.
Culley told Endpoints:
What the Carlsbad facility affords us is the ability to have resources available for partnering. So, there are more cell types than we could ever possibly develop on our own, part of our strategy demonstrated through a number of examples. Roche is a great one. But there are other examples that we have to work with partners on different cell types. If we have that facility and we have those capabilities, it’s much easier for us to be an attractive partner and kind of go into joint ventures around different programs so that we don’t have to build everything from scratch ourselves.
Culley said that hiring for the facilities will be proportional to Lineage’s growth and will start small. The cost of the projects was not disclosed to Endpoints.
Lineage’s deal with Roche and Genentech also has the potential for the company to earn $620 million in downstream milestones for licensing rights.