Vor Bio opts to keep manufacturing operations in-house for developing stem cell, CAR-T therapies
While it is not uncommon for a biotech to go down the route of having the product manufactured by a contract organization, one small biotech is looking to keep its card close to its chest.
Vor Biopharma has started manufacturing operations at an in-house facility at its HQ in Cambridge, MA after beginning construction last summer.
According to the biotech, the facility aims to develop Vor’s hematopoietic stem cells (eHSCs) and CAR-T therapies for patients with blood cancers. The site will initially manufacture a clinical supply of its candidate VCAR33allo to support its IND, which is slated to be submitted in the first half of next year. It also plans to transfer the production of VOR33 to the facility. Vor is getting to work quickly as engineering runs for VCAR33allo has started this week.
In an email to Endpoints News, Michael Pinaud, the head of GMP operations for Vor said that the facility is around 9,000 square feet. Due to the type of manufacturing that the company is undertaking, it can manufacture its eHSCs with a small footprint. Vor did not disclose the financial figures of the facility, but the site did not use any governmental funds.
“We believe that the upfront investment is well worth the long-term advantages of having full control over our manufacturing capacity, timelines and costs,” Pinaud said in the email to Endpoints.
The site is made up of four clean rooms along with two quality control laboratories, six analytical laboratories and warehousing space. It is looking to scale up quickly as Pinaud said the site is looking to hire in the areas of quality, manufacturing operations and process development over the next few years. However, no details were given on the number of employees the company plans to add.
As to why the company is not contracting out its manufacturing work, Pinaud stressed that it allows Vor to maintain full control over its product.
“Integrating internal research, process development, analytical development, manufacturing and quality control testing capabilities under one roof enables us to provide efficient transfer of knowledge and maintain strategic control of manufacturing capacity, and reduce the time and cost required to manufacture complex cell therapy clinical candidates,” Pinaud said in a statement.
Pinaud also told Endpoints that the facility can support all its programs in its pipeline, but that Vor would eventually need to evaluate additional space to support future commercial supply.
When the site was announced last year, then CTO Sadik Kassim told Endpoints in an interview that outsourcing could give away trade secrets, among other reasons for bringing things under one roof.