CSL Behring is growing its research and development presence in southern California. The biotech has cut the ribbon on an expanded R&D facility in Pasadena that promises to advance its new leading edge capabilities to develop and deliver innovative gene and cell therapies for patients and future growth for the company.
The newly-expanded facility in Pasadena, the plasma-based biotechnology leader’s R&D hub for cell and gene therapy research, includes three R&D labs and CSL Behring’s first in-house space for cell manufacturing. The manufacturing component is expected to be up and running later this year and will produce cells to be used in CSL Behring clinical trials for its cell and gene therapy product development platform.
In parallel with the site expansion, CSL Behring is expected increase its Pasadena workforce to more than 50 by the end of the fiscal year in June - double the number of employees at the site at the beginning of 2019.
The new spaces include collaborative working areas for employees in line with the modern, open environment that CSL Behring has implemented at its sites throughout the world. Andreas Gille, Senior Director and Pasadena R&D Head for CSL Behring, says enhanced collaboration is “clearly visible.”
“It’s a pleasure to see everyone working together in this new environment,” Gille added. “This expansion and renovation will go a long way toward achieving our end goal of developing new treatments for patients who are depending on us.”
The strategically-located site also allows CSL Behring to partner with leading academic institutions including the nearby University of California at Los Angeles. CSL Behring is working with UCLA researchers on investigations into nanoparticles, which could play an important role in gene editing.
Gille was joined at Friday’s ribbon-cutting event by Professor David Baltimore of the nearby California Institute of Technology, a virology pioneer and the 1975 Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology or Medicine, and CSL Behring global leaders Bill Mezzanotte, Executive Vice President and Head of Research and Development and Greg Boss, CSL Limited Group General Counsel.
“Expanding our R&D footprint in Pasadena represents CSL’s continued commitment to building capabilities in gene and cell therapy which will help us better meet the needs of patients with rare and serious diseases,” Mezzanotte said. “Pasadena is also a strategically important location for us as it affords the company access to scientific talent as well as proximity to leading west coast university and biotech collaborations that can help enhance CSL’s transition to a multidimensional plasma-based biotech organization.”
In addition to the Cell Manufacturing, Bioanalytics and Quality departments, the Pasadena site houses clinical operations as well as support staff.