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December 16, 2019

Academic-industry collaboration: viral vectors for preclinical research

By GE Healthcare Life Sciences

New facility will help alleviate bottlenecks in manufacturing that impact preclinical research

GE Healthcare Life Sciences and the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) have come together to establish a large-scale viral vector manufacturing facility. The new facility will provide large quantities of high-quality recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors for preclinical research. The facility will be housed on the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Worcester campus.

Preclinical research capabilities are limited due to a lack of large-scale viral vector manufacturing facilities. Researchers often must wait 12 to 24 months to secure enough vector for their research. This large-scale AAV manufacturing facility will alleviate the bottlenecks that delay the start of preclinical research. Additionally, researchers will have access to the company’s processing equipment and the assistance of professional staff at the facility helping to get their research to the clinic faster.

Catarina Flyborg, General Manager of Cell and Gene Therapy, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, says: “Accelerating research that brings novel cell and gene therapies to patients is the mission of our business. By partnering with UMass Medical School to create this large-scale AAV manufacturing facility, we will provide researchers with the tools and AAV needed for preclinical research that will advance the cell and gene therapy industry and get therapies to patients faster.”

“The potential of gene therapy to treat human disease has finally become a reality” says Terence R. Flotte, MD, professor of pediatrics and dean of the School of Medicine at UMMS. “However, the ability to move the field forward to treat additional serious diseases remains limited by the efficiency and flexibility of producing gene therapy vectors suitable for testing in new disease models. Our partnership with GE Healthcare addresses this critical challenge. The strength of this academic-industry collaboration between two of the commonwealth’s leaders in this field gives us a great deal of optimism that we will overcome this challenge.”

The facility will be 3220 square feet and will feature a good laboratory practice (GLP) viral vector FlexFactory manufacturing platform. Four to six professional staff will manage the day-to-day operation, and the facility will be fully operational in 2020.

Learn more about manufacturing platforms and facilities for cell and gene therapy.