The late-stage biotech will increase its production capacity for its tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) technology-based therapeutics with the Philadelphia site. Iovance, headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, has research facilities in Florida and New York, but this will be its first manufacturing facility.
Iovance’s new facility will enable the company to produce its TIL products and its lead drug candidate lifileucel – which is in Phase II studies for the treatment of advanced melanoma – through scalable processes.
TIL therapyuses treats a patient with their own immune cells and involves the collection of a patient’s tissue sample that is then shipped to a manufacturing facility for processing. For Iovance, this supply chain requires the cells to be cryopressed after processing and shipped back to the patient for infusion.
A spokesperson for Iovance told us that the company chose to build in the city’s centrally-located Navy Yard as it is close to the airport and has efficient access to transportation, which he said are key factors for a cell therapy where a rapid turnaround is imperative for accessibility.
Maria Fardis, president and CEO of Iovance said in a statement, “Building our own internal production capabilities will help us reduce the cost of operations which is necessary for offering broad access to TIL therapy.”
According to the company, the site will be designed to manufacture enough products for thousands of patients annually in both a clinical and commercial capacity.
The facility is expected to be complete in 2021.