Pfizer, which bought Bamboo Therapeutics last year in its aim to be a major player in gene therapies, is now looking at building a gene therapy production facility in North Carolina where the biotech is based.
Pfizer spokeswoman Kimberly Becker confirmed a report by the Triangle Business Journal that the company has been exploring the area. The newspaper was told by sources that Pfizer has talked to state and local officials about a potential $100 million expansion project. Bamboo is based in Chapel Hill.
“We recently announced that we’re moving forward with scoping potential sites in Sanford for our new gene therapy site. This work is still in the preliminary stages and we aren’t able to share additional detail at this time,” Becker said in an email.
The sources told the newspaper that Pfizer also is considering putting it in Massachusetts. The drugmaker currently is erecting a $200 million biologics and vaccines production facility at its campus in Andover.
But Bamboo already has an 11,000-square foot, fully staffed and operational manufacturing facility in Sanford it acquired last year from the University of North Carolina about the time that Pfizer made an initial investment in the company. Bamboo has produced phase I and II materials using a in the facility using what Pfizer said was “superior suspension, cell-based production platform that increases scalability, efficiency and purity.”
Pfizer last year bought Bamboo in two-step deal, laying out $193 million to acquire its stock, with a pledge of up to $495 million more in milestones. With gene therapies, genetic material is introduced into a patient’s body to replace gene mutations that cause disease.
The biotech is working on recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV)-based gene therapies for rare diseases. It has a pre-clinical asset for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD); and three targeted at the central nervous system, with pre-clinical assets for Friedreich’s Ataxia and Canavan disease, and a Phase I asset for Giant Axonal Neuropathy, Pfizer said.