Audentes Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Astellas, has announced plans to build a new gene therapy manufacturing facility in Sanford, North Carolina.

To be built at a total cost of $109m, the 135,000ft² facility is expected to be operational in 2021. The initial phase of investment is planned to take place over 18 months of time.

The remaining investment will be made in two additional planned expansion phases. The new facility is expected to create 200 new jobs in Lee County.

Audentes Therapeutics president and CEO Natalie Holles said: “Our investment in large-scale manufacturing has always been a cornerstone of our strategy to develop and ultimately deliver our important genetic medicines to patients as rapidly as possible.

“This new facility in Sanford will support the next phase of our growth as we establish a robust, global supply chain and expand our therapeutic and geographic scope as a part of the Astellas group of companies.

“We are excited to join the vibrant biopharmaceutical research and manufacturing community that the state of North Carolina has established.”

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North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said: “With our powerhouse research centres and highly-skilled workforce, biotech pioneers recognise North Carolina’s role as a leader in the life sciences.

“Lee County is a perfect fit for Audentes as they seek to become a global leader in genetic medicines.”

The North Carolina Department of Commerce along with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina had supported Audentes in its decision to build the new facility.

Last month, Astellas Pharma, a Japanese pharmaceutical company, had completed acquiring Audentes Therapeutics for nearly $3bn.

Audentes will operate as a subsidiary of Astellas and will serve as the Center of Excellence for the newly created Genetic Regulation Primary Focus, offering Adeno-associated viruses (AAV) pipeline advancement by commercialising, expanding manufacture and taking up research initiatives.


Image: Rendering of Audentes Therapeutics’ new state-of-the-art gene therapy manufacturing facility. (Credit: Business Wire.)