AstraZeneca is investing $300m in a facility in Rockville, Maryland, marking a significant step in launching its cell therapy platforms in the US.

The initiative is aimed at advancing critical cancer trials and preparing for future commercial supply.

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The investment will create 150 skilled jobs, primarily focusing on the production of T-cell therapies to support clinical trials worldwide.

AstraZeneca’s new investment in cell therapy follows partnerships with industry players such as Quell Therapeutics, AbelZeta and Cellectis, and the recent takeover of Neogene Therapeutics.

The new site at Rockville will join the company’s international manufacturing and supply network, comprising 30 manufacturing and supply centres across 16 countries. Some are already operational while others are still in development.

AstraZeneca’s US production sites are dedicated to manufacturing small molecules and biologics, leveraging advanced pharmaceutical technology and development.

They employ 2,600 full-time staff and deliver nine billion doses of therapeutics each year.

AstraZeneca global operations and IT executive vice-president and chief sustainability officer Pam Cheng stated: “We are incredibly excited that more than 150 new highly skilled jobs are being created to bring our scientific work and therapies to clinical trials which could transform the lives of patients around the world.

“This new $300m investment will accelerate our ambition to make next-generation cell therapy a reality, ensuring that we are ready to scale and meet the demands of patients.”

The latest development comes after the company signed a definitive agreement for the acquisition of China-based Gracell Biotechnologies to expand its portfolio of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapies.