Novartis’ Gene-Therapy Company AveXis To Build $55-Million Plant
Novartis’ AveXis, a Bannockburn, Illinois-based clinical-stage gene-therapy company, plans to invest $55 million to build a new manufacturing center in Research Triangle Park, Durham County, North Carolina. Novartis acquired AveXis for $8.7 billion in May 2018.
AveXis is focused on developing gene therapies to treat neurological diseases and it plans to produce therapies to address rare neurological genetic diseases at the plant.
The company’s initial product candidate, AVXS-101, is a proprietary gene therapy currently in development for treating spinal muscular atrophy, or spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), Type I, a genetic cause of infant mortality. Additionally, AveXis offers adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (AAV9) gene-therapy manufacturing capabilities and research and development capabilities, which in addition to AVXS-101, includes other pipeline products for Rett syndrome, a neurological disorder, and a genetic form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis caused by mutations in the superoxide dismutase 1 gene. AAV9 is a gene-delivery platform for diseases of the central nervous system.
With the new center, AveXis plans to create 200 jobs. The company says it will create a variety of positions, including engineers, manufacturing and quality-control personnel, and supply-chain specialists.
AveXis’ expansion in Durham County will be facilitated, in part, by a job development investment grant (JDIG) approved by North Carolina’s Economic Investment Committee. The JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $2,232,000, spread over 12 years.