Iovance To Invest $75 Million in New Cell-Therapy Mfg FacilityBy
Iovance Biotherapeutics, a late-stage biotechnology company specializing in immunotherapies for cancer, has entered into a lease agreement to build a 136,000 square-foot cell-therapy production facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for commercial and clinical production. Iovance expects to invest about $75 million over three years for equipment and construction, and the facility is expected to be completed in approximately two years.
The new facility will be located in the Philadelphia Navy Yard, with the capacity to employ several hundred individuals. The commercial-scale facility will produce autologous tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) cell therapy products, including Iovance’s candidate lifileucel, an autologous cell therapy product.
Iovance’s autologous TIL therapy involves collecting a tissue sample from a patient to be shipped to a facility where immune cells can be isolated and amplified to cell populations numbering in the billions. This population of active T cells are then cryopreserved and shipped to sites across the US and Europe for infusion into the patient.
Iovance has also received a letter of intent from the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation for a five-year option for additional space to further increase capacity.
The company says it will continue collaborating with its existing contract manufacturing organizations while it completes its new facility in 2021. In a separate announcement, the Advanced Therapies Business Unit WuXi AppTec, which provides contract development and manufacturing services for cell and gene therapies, reports that it has expanded its relationship with Iovance under which WuXi will increase capacity for Iovance’s innovaTIL-01 and innovaTIL-04 studies, which offer lifileucel and LN-145 for treatment of metastatic melanoma and recurrent, metastatic, or persistent and cervical cancer, respectively. WuXi manufactures TIL product for Iovance at its Commerce Center 3 facility, a 55,000-square-foot late-phase and commercial manufacturing facility for cell therapies, and one of three facilities in the Philadelphia Navy Yard supporting the development, manufacturing and quality control testing of cell and gene therapies.