Massachusetts General and ElevateBio Ink 10-Year Cell and Gene Therapy Deal

Alliance

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and ElevateBio signed a 10-year alliance, which gives MGH preferred access to ElevateBio’s BaseCamp research, process development and manufacturing facility in Waltham, Massachusetts. The access is granted for development and production of cell and gene therapies that might be developed at MGH.

MGH, in return, is investing in ElevateBio BaseCamp. BaseCamp will support a variety of cell and gene therapy programs that comes out of MGH’s research programs. The two organizations will also work together to identify cell and gene technologies at university labs and other sources to create therapeutics companies.

“MGH researchers and clinicians continue to make unprecedented progress for patients as they develop novel cell and gene therapies,” stated Peter L. Slavin, president of MGH. “This collaboration with ElevateBio will enable us to amplify our efforts in the development and manufacture of cell and gene therapies.”

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ElevateBio launched in May with a $150 million Series A financing round. ElevateBio is an incubator with a business model designed to build single- and multi-product cell and gene therapy companies by offering those companies centralized bench-to-bedside capabilities. Its BaseCamp is a single R&D, process development and cGMP manufacturing company.

A recent industry report indicated there are almost 300 gene therapies being developed to treat more than 100 diseases. As these therapies enter clinical trials and eventually the marketplace, the demand for specialized manufacturing capabilities and infrastructure will increase.

There has been a boom in partnerships between research companies and companies with gene and cell-therapy manufacturing capabilities. Avalon GloboCare Corp. announced a strategic partnership with GE Healthcare on July 22. The deal is designed to accelerate Avalon’s standardization, automation and bio-production for CAR-T cells and other cellular therapies related to immunotherapy. This includes exosomes/extracellular vesicles (EV)-based regenerative therapeutics.

In March, Thermo Fisher Scientific acquired gene and cell therapy manufacturer Brammer Bio for $1.7 billion in cash. Brammer Bio is a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) focused on manufacturing viral vectors for gene and cell therapies.

Also in March, bluebird bio announced it was opening a new gene therapy manufacturing facility in Durham, North Carolina. That factory will produce lentiviral vectors for its gene and cell therapies, including bb2121 and bb21217 for multiple myeloma and possibly LentiGlobin for transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia (TDT) and sickle cell disease.

In May, Bayer announced plans to build a Cell Culture Technology Center in Berkeley, California, investing $150 million in the project. The center will develop biologics. The facility will be constructed on Bayer’s existing campus where its manufacturing currently makes its Factor III hemophilia A treatments. The new Cell Culture Technology Center is expected to open for clinical production in late 2021. The facility will be designed and built by Fluor. GE Healthcare was chosen to integrate its FlexFactory technology platform and supply all major unit operations, systems and ancillary equipment.

Of the MGH-ElevateBio partnership, David Hallal, chief executive officer of ElevateBio, stated, “This 10-year alliance with MGH advances key objectives for our organization as we strive to reach more patients faster with innovative clinical-stage cell and gene therapies. We look forward to providing udpates of our progress under this new collaboration in the months ahead.”

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