China’s Pharmaron Plans UK Gene Therapy Expansion

04.04.2023 - Pharmaron Beijing, a Chinese pharmaceutical R&D company, is planning to undertake a major expansion project at its site in Liverpool after receiving financial support from the UK government.

The grant from the Life Sciences Innovation Manufacturing Fund (LSIMF) will enable Pharmaron to achieve a fourfold increase in its gene therapy process development and analytical capacity for viral vector, DNA and RNA drug substances, plus drug product formulation.

The investment will create 174 jobs, safeguard 156 jobs and substantially scale operations at an existing center of excellence in advanced therapies to respond to rapidly growing customer demand, the LSIMF said. It added that the UK already has Europe’s largest cell and gene therapy cluster, but the majority of these companies are located in the southeast of the country.

“Securing this grant demonstrates UK Government’s support and trust in Pharmaron to continuously expand our state-of-the-art infrastructure and top-notch scientific team at Liverpool to serve the gene therapy and vaccine development community in UK and abroad,” said Pharmaron chairman and CEO Boliang Lou. “We look forward to our new facilities coming online to support our partners that are delivering innovative, life changing medicines for patients in 2025.”

Pharmaron expects to invest about £151 million in the new facility. Construction started in January and completion is expected in 2024. The project will also include extra space for future commercial-scale GMP capacity.

The Chinese firm acquired the Liverpool facility from AbbVie in 2021 and said it added 29 gene therapy and vaccine projects through 2022. Pharmaron also bought a site in Newcastle, UK, in January 2022 from CDMO Recipharm. The Cramlington site, operated by Aesica Pharmaceuticals, offers cGMP manufacturing services for a variety of APIs, from pilot production through to commercial scale.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist