Thursday Events Highlight N.C.’s Growing Cell and Gene Therapy Success
On Thursday, April 22, two free virtual events will discuss the latest advancements in cell- and gene-based therapy and North Carolina’s growing global reputation for development and advancement of these therapeutics.
The Biomanufacturing Process Development (BPD) exchange group with NCBiotech is hosting a free day-long virtual symposium and vendor show sponsored by Aldevron. The symposium features speakers from Biogen, Cellectis, KBI Biopharma, Locus Biosciences, PhosphoGam, Pfizer, and Precision Biosciences, Inc. Virtual exhibitors for the event include Aldevron, Akron Biotech, Avitide, Beckman Coulter, Eppendorf Bioprocess, IPS-Integrated Project Services, Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions, MaxCyte, Millipore Sigma,LLC, Pall Corp, Repligen, and Watson Marlow.
Coincidentally, LaunchBio planned a free virtual webinar for the same day titled “Gene Therapy Thrives: Five Years of Growth in North Carolina.” The panel discussion featuring experts from N.C.-based gene therapy companies will discuss the state’s emergence as a leader in gene therapy and share their predictions for the industry’s future.
NCBiotech’s Vice President, Investments Emerging Company Development Vivien Doelling will moderate the webinar, which will feature experts from Sarepta, Novartis Gene Therapies, Beam Therapeutics, and Astellas Gene Therapies.
Fortunately for those interested, these organizations collaborated on scheduling to ensure people are able attend both events without missing any content and have been working together to co-promote their events.
Recent announcements from leading cell- and gene-based therapy companies underscore the state’s leadership in the field. Biogen recently announced a $200 million investment to build a 175,000-square-foot facility to support clinical production for its gene therapy pipeline. This follows North Carolina expansion announcements from cell- and gene-based therapy companies Adverum Biotechnologies, Taysha Gene Therapies, Beam Therapeutics, and Astellas Gene Therapies since early 2020. Several of these companies will be featured during Thursday’s events.
Katie Stember Ph.D., NCBiotech’s associate director for life science economic development, credits the state’s growing leadership in cell- and gene-based therapy to the strong training and manufacturing infrastructure.
“North Carolina has more employees in biologics manufacturing than any other state,” said Stember.
“One reason for this is that North Carolina has a really robust training infrastructure with specialized programs for biopharma manufacturing.”
In addition to manufacturing expertise, North Carolina is home to numerous companies focused on cell- and gene-based therapy research and development. A UNC startup company AskBio was recently acquired by Bayer for $2 billion up front and up to $2 billion more in payments if milestones are reached. Precision Biosciences, a company presenting during the BPD event, announced a research collaboration with global pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company in November 2020.
As the birthplace of CROs, the state also boasts expertise in trial design, patient recruitment, data management and regulatory requirements. Today, North Carolina is home to more than 120 CRO/CDMOs and 1,800 clinical trials. This broad expertise and support from numerous local organizations gives cell- and gene-based therapy companies in North Carolina a clear path to success.