MilliporeSigma and bluebird bio ink multi-year viral vector deal

By Flora Southey contact

- Last updated on GMT

GettyImages/AntonioGuillem
GettyImages/AntonioGuillem

Related tags: Viral vector, Dna, Gene therapy

Bluebird Bio has hired MilliporeSigma to supply lentiviral vectors for the development of gene therapies.

Under the commercial supply agreement, MilliporeSigma – the life science branch of Merck KGaA – will manufacture vectors for the Massachusetts, US-headquartered firm’s drug products, indicated to treat rare genetic diseases.

Merck told us the lentivrial vectors – which are used to deliver personalised gene therapies into immune cells – will be manufactured at its Carlsbad, California facility.

The firm recently expanded​ the gene therapy facility, which houses viral bulk manufacturing cleanrooms, fill/finish suites and viral vaccine and immunotherapy products.

Merck has expertise in the production of a wide variety of viral vectors used for gene therapy and viral vaccines, the spokesperson told us.

The firm “has a focus on quality in clinical and commercial supply as evidenced by our facility completing both a US Food and Drug Administration[FDA] Pre-License inspection and a European Medicines Agency [EMA] Marketing Authorization inspection,” ​he added.

Outsourcing relationships

A Merck spokesperson told us the firm has worked with bluebird bio “for some time on production of lentiviral vectors across all their programmes.”

In November last year, bluebird bio reaffirmed​ its commitment to its outsourcing partners, when it announced plans to buy a manufacturing facility in North Carolina but continue to work with contract manufacturers.

At the time, bluebird bio said the in-house lentiviral vector manufacturing facility would not disrupt multi-year contracts with firms including Brammer Bio, Novasep, and MilliporeSigma.  

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