Pfizer To Invest $100 Million in Gene Therapies Plant
Pfizer plans to invest $100 million to expand a gene-therapy manufacturing plant in Sanford, North Carolina. Pfizer had acquired the facility as part of its acquisition of Bamboo Therapeutics, a Chapel Hill, North Carolina-headquartered biotechnology company, in 2016.
The expansion in Sanford will focus on gene therapy, a technology focused on specialized, one-time treatments that address the root cause of diseases caused by genetic mutation. The technology involves introducing genetic material into the body to deliver a correct copy of a gene to a patient’s cells to compensate for a defective or missing gene.
The acquisition of Bamboo expanded Pfizer’s expertise in gene therapy by providing Pfizer with a clinical candidate and several preclinical assets that complemented the company’s rare-disease portfolio, an advanced recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector design and production technology, and a Phase I/II gene therapy manufacturing facility that Bamboo had earlier acquired from the University of North Carolina in 2016.
Pfizer has been building its position in gene therapy. In addition to the acquisition of Bamboo Therapeutics, earlier this year in May 2017, Pfizer formed an exclusive, global collaboration and license agreement, worth up to $545 million, with Richmond, California-based Sangamo Therapeutics, for the development and commercialization of gene-therapy programs for hemophilia A, including SB-525, one of Sangamo’s four lead product candidates. Pfizer also has a collaboration with Spark Therapeutics, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based gene therapy company. In 2016, the companies received breakthrough therapy designation by the US Food and Drug Administration for SPK-9001, the companies’ lead investigational candidate for treating hemophilia B and a bio-engineered AAV capsid.