Vertex and Lonza Partner for New Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility, Creating Job Opportunities

Vertex and Lonza Partner for New Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility, Creating Job Opportunities

Source – Vertex Pharmaceuticals

With promising developments in its experimental cell therapy VX-880 for type I diabetes, Vertex Pharmaceuticals is expanding its manufacturing capabilities in collaboration with Lonza. The partnership aims to support the production of VX-880 and another clinical candidate, VX-264, by focusing on process development and scaling up the manufacturing of stem cell-derived islet cell therapies that produce insulin.

To facilitate this endeavor, both companies will invest in the construction of a new facility in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Lonza will operate the facility, which is expected to employ approximately 300 staff members across an area of 130,000 square feet. Construction is scheduled to commence later this year, enabling the facility to work in conjunction with Lonza’s global cell and gene technologies manufacturing network, thereby accelerating the development and commercialization of Vertex’s cell therapy candidates.

Vertex is pursuing a comprehensive approach to advance cell therapies for type I diabetes, with VX-880 leading the way. In a recent phase I/II study presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 83rd Scientific Sessions, all six patients treated with VX-880 demonstrated successful engraftment of islet cells and improved glycemic control, producing endogenous insulin (C-peptide). Furthermore, the therapy allowed patients to reduce or eliminate their dependence on insulin, with those monitored for over 90 days experiencing a significant decrease in hypoglycemic events.

VX-264, which also utilizes fully differentiated insulin-producing islet cells like VX-880, employs a unique encapsulation device designed to shield the cells from the body’s immune system. This innovative delivery method aims to eliminate the need for immunosuppression in patients receiving the therapy.

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