Cell Therapy
Scaling Up

New Cell Therapy Manufacturing and R&D Facility in San Diego Expected to Open in 2022

Georgi Makin
19 August 2021

Artiva Biotherapeutics has announced the build of a new R&D and GMP manufacturing centre for cell therapies, expanding the company’s presence in the US.

The new facility will enable Artiva Biotherapeutics to develop its NK cell therapy pipeline and clinical supply, further expanding in scaled, off-the-shelf NK and CAR-NK therapeutic manufacturing for the treatment of solid and haematological cancers.

The 52,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in San Diego is planned to open in 2022, including research and process development laboratories as well as a multi-suite custom-built GMP manufacturing centre.

Both the facility and its capabilities are in addition to Artiva’s continued research and GMP manufacturing at its partner GC LabCell’s state-of-the-art 300,000-square-foot Cell Centre, which also includes 50,000 square feet of dedicated GMP cell therapy manufacturing facility space in the Republic of Korea.

Peter Flynn, COO of Artiva explained:

“Artiva’s new San Diego R&D and manufacturing facility is an important element of the Company’s expansion and will support research and development for our evolving pipeline of optimized NK and CAR-NK cell therapies for the treatment of cancer. The custom-built manufacturing centre will produce clinical product and position Artiva for pivotal studies and potential commercial supply.”

Fred Aslan, CEO of Artiva, added:

“Artiva’s manufacturing-first approach, leveraging more than 10 years of pioneering NK cell therapy R&D by GC LabCell, has enabled us to successfully initiate clinical trials of our first allogeneic, cryopreserved, off-the-shelf NK cell therapy and positions us to file INDs on two novel and distinct CAR-NK cell therapy programs in 2022. Now with our new facility, we continue to expand and build on our leadership position in the evolving field of allogeneic cell therapies.”

The new facility will be located at 5505 Morehouse Drive, which is being redeveloped by Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. Co-Chief Investment Officer and San Diego Regional Market Director of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc., commented:

“We are honoured that Artiva approached us to partner on the build-out of this critical new research and manufacturing centre that will support the company in its mission to develop and deliver safe, effective and versatile cancer therapies.”

This announcement follows a few of a similar ilk over the past few months as the industry observes large investment and expansion opportunities following the pandemic, gradually expanding manufacturing capacity.

Thermo Fisher Scientific, for example, announced in May that the company had entered into a strategic alliance with the University of California, San Francisco to open a 44,000 square-foot cell therapy cGMP manufacturing and collaboration centre in San Francisco. AGC Biologics also made headlines through the acquisition of a state-of-the-art cell and gene commercial manufacturing facility in Colorado, previously owned by Novartis Gene Therapies.

Meanwhile, New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII) partnered with McKinsey & Company to open a new centre dedicated to the advancement of operations and manufacturing excellence in cell and gene therapy, further contributing to the expansion and growth observed in the industry over the past few years.

The level of investment and opportunity for manufacturing capacity growth is certainly an exciting sign of the times. I just hope the skills and talent required to manage such growth can expand and develop at an equal rate, or we could be facing a rather tricky bottleneck…

Source: Artiva press release