NeuExcell heads east, landing suburban Philly headquarters
Pennsylvania’s already well-established biotech scene got word of a boost last week with several announcements, including the building of a massive life sciences manufacturing center in Pittsburgh thanks to some funding from an area nonprofit and a local university. But those jawns in Philadelphia aren’t letting go of its stranglehold on the state easily.
NeuExcell Therapeutics, a preclinical gene therapy biotech that focuses on neurodegenerative diseases, announced that it signed a deal with The Discovery Labs in King of Prussia, about 25 miles northwest of downtown Philly.
The lease will allow NeuExcell to establish a long-term corporate headquarters and enable the company to tap into the massive cell and gene therapy talent pool in the greater Philadelphia region. The company will take over 20,000 square feet of lab space on the 1 million square-foot campus.
In King of Prussia, NeuExcell will expand its R&D operations to support IND applications for clinical trials and up its adeno antivirus manufacturing operations, as well as its quality control testing and analytical and assay development.
“We are very excited to establish a presence in the midst of Philadelphia’s cell and gene therapy epicenter,” Ronald Lorijn, NeuExcell’s CEO, said in a press release. “This will allow us to attract key talent who will drive progress forward for our innovative gene therapy technology.”
The company will join the Penn Medicine gene therapy program, GlaxoSmithKline, WuXi Biologics and the Center for Breakthrough Medicines, among others, on the campus. Right now, the company operates out of State College, PA, home of Penn State University.
In September, NeuExcell struck a deal with Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies to produce drug substance at a site in College Station, TX. The substance is for the first in-human trials of NXL-001, to help patients suffering from ischemic cortical strokes.
On the other side of the state, a 178-acre property got a $100 million boost from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and the University of Pittsburgh. That site is being transformed into Pitt BioForge, a home for cell and gene therapy manufacturing, and $75 million of that funding will go toward robotics and advanced manufacturing. The goal is to create a tech hub that rivals that of Boston or San Francisco and brings local jobs to a market that used to be primarily driven by steel.
In a recent market report published by Colliers Life Sciences, The Discovery Labs was dubbed one of the eight significant life sciences neighborhoods in the Philadelphia region. GlaxoSmithKline has a 780,000-square-foot site that features R&D and manufacturing operations, which received a $120 million renovation in 2019, according to the report. The site is located in the Upper Merion neighborhood, which also features Renaissance Park, another life sciences location directly across the street from Discovery Labs.