China’s CARsgen to Open CAR-T Manufacturing Facility in North Carolina
China’s CARsgen Therapeutics is securing a U.S. toehold in North Carolina for biomanufacturing. The company is building a new $157 million CAR-T manufacturing facility in Durham, the heart of the Research Triangle Park, that is expected to create approximately 200 new jobs.
The new facility, CARsgen’s first in North America, is expected to be a 37,000 square-foot manufacturing center for clinical and early-stage commercial manufacturing.
Additionally, CARsgen will construct a 100,000 square foot cGMP commercial manufacturing facility in Durham that will eventually produce FDA-approved cell therapies, Gov. Roy Cooper’s office announced.
CARsgen currently maintains its U.S. clinical development operations in Houston.
The aggregate average salary of the positions at the Durham facility are expected to be $76,061. The current average wage in Durham County is $75,892.
Shanghai-based CARsgen Therapeutics Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CARsgen Therapeutics Holdings Limited, specializes in chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies. The company has a broad pipeline of CAR T-cell product candidates covering both solid and hematologic tumors.
CARsgen has a number of assets in clinical studies, including CLDN18.2-targeted CAR-T product candidate for gastric/gastroesophageal junction cancer and pancreatic cancer and a GPC3-targeted CAR-T product candidate for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
In hematological cancers, CARsgen has ongoing clinical CAR T-cell programs with a fully human CAR-BCMA for multiple myeloma for the treatment of refractory/relapsed multiple myeloma, and a humanized CAR-CD19 for the treatment of refractory/relapsed B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
CARsgen Chief Executive Officer Zonghai Li, who also serves as chief scientific officer, said the Durham site would expand the company’s global cGMP manufacturing capacity to produce innovative CAR-T cell products for U.S. patients.
“CARsgen will continuously develop and embed innovations to advance the revolutionary CAR-T cell therapy for unmet clinical needs,” Li said in a statement.
North Carolina wooed CARsgen with a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG), which will reimburse the company up to $1,616,250 over the course of 12 years. Gov. Cooper’s office said the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $1.04 billion.
"Global companies know that North Carolina is a world class leader in biotechnology. Our state’s skilled workers, educational institutions and business environment provide life science companies with the tools they need to succeed,” Cooper said in a statement.
North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders said it was exciting to see the RTP biotech sector continue to grow with companies that provide cutting-edge scientific capabilities.
“From companies exploring gene therapies to the innovative work CARsgen is conducting with immune-oncology, there’s no question that North Carolina will continue to play an important role in the future of this industry and the many lives of those impacted by the life sciences sector,” Sanders said in a statement.