Resilience shells out $110M for bluebird bio site, kickstarting new collaboration
Just a little more than two years after bluebird bio purchased a manufacturing facility and spent another $80 million on upgrades, the company has spun around and sold it.
Resilience has acquired bluebird’s North Carolina lentiviral vector manufacturing facility for $110 million. The 125,000-square-foot site in Durham, NC, includes drug substance and drug product production suites, quality control labs and warehouse space. There’s also room for future expansion.
All of more than 100 employees will be retained at the site. In the press release, bluebird pitched the deal as a collaborative project with Resilience more so than an acquisition with agreements to establish expense- and revenue-sharing partner programs and establish a “next-generation manufacturing R&D collaboration” also in the works.
As a part of the agreement, bluebird and spinoff 2seventy will still have access to the LVV manufacturing for the pipeline programs. The drugmakers is in the process of breaking into two separate rare disease and oncology units. Resilience and 2seventy will collaborate on its emerging pipeline.
“As we continue to pivot toward the planned separation of bluebird and 2seventy, this strategic partnership allows us to share risk, streamline our business operations, provide additional capital and importantly ensures uninterrupted access to vector supply as we develop additional transformative treatments,” bluebird CEO Nick Leschly said in a press release.
When announced, the plan was for the site to produce lentiviral vectors for investigational gene and cell therapies, including bb2121 and bb212217 for treatment of multiple myeloma and possible LentiGlobin to treat transfusion-dependent thalassemia and sickle cell disease.
The acquisition of the site gives Resilience an “important strategic presence” in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, and a site with the latest tech. This will mark the company’s 10th site in North America.
“This alliance supports our vision of innovative product participation business models and bluebird’s demonstrated leadership and expertise in the field of gene and cell therapy makes them an ideal partner for this next phase of growth,” Resilience CEO Rahul Singhvi said in the press release.
Bob Nelsen’s latest project hit the ground running in 2021 and caught the eye of the Canadian Strategic Innovation Fund, which announced earlier this year that it will spend $163 million to modernize and expand production capacity for new technologies such as mRNA, the key component of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna’s vaccine, at a Resilience site. That will add 205 new jobs in Mississauga, Ontario, at a 136,000-square-foot facility that currently provides fill-finish manufacturing.