Bluebird Bio opens gene and cell therapy manufacturing facility
bluebird bio announced the official opening of its first wholly owned manufacturing facility in Durham, N.C., that will produce lentiviral vector for the company's investigational gene and cell therapies, including: bb2121 and bb21217 for the treatment of multiple myeloma and potentially LentiGlobin(TM) for the treatment of transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease. Currently, bluebird employs approximately 50 scientists, engineers, manufacturing and operations personnel at the facility and is on track to grow to approximately 70 employees by the end of 2019. bluebird bio purchased the facility in November 2017. Once completed, the company will have invested more than $80M building a site equipped with multiple manufacturing suites capable of producing lentiviral vector. The facility also includes warehouse and quality control testing laboratories. The facility construction is substantially complete and equipment qualification is underway. Initially, bluebird bio expects the facility to produce clinical and commercial supply of lentiviral vector, which is a critical component of the company's gene and cell therapies. The facility is large enough to accommodate significant future expansion, including the possibility of manufacturing commercial drug product. In addition to the Durham facility, bluebird bio also has multi-year agreements with three manufacturing partners in the United States and Europe: Brammer Bio, Novasep, and MilliporeSigma. Each of these partners is collaborating with bluebird bio on production of lentiviral vector across all programs. bluebird bio also partners with Lonza and apceth Biopharma to produce drug product for Lenti-D and LentiGlobin.