Kite, a Gilead Company, said today it will expand its ability to manufacture chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) therapies—including its marketed cancer immunotherapy Yescarta® (axicabtagene ciloleucel)—by building a new facility in Maryland’s Frederick County.
The new 279,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, set to rise on a 20-acre site in Urbana, MD, is projected to create between 400 and 800 jobs, the Frederick County Office of Economic Development told GEN.
Among treatments to be manufactured at the site will be Yescarta, which became the second CAR-T therapy to reach the market soon after winning FDA approval in October 2017.
“This new facility in Frederick County builds on our substantial technical capabilities and rapid progress in making personalized CAR-T and TCR cell therapies for people with cancer,” Tim Moore, executive vice president of technical operations at Kite, said in a statement. “As we advance our industry-leading cell therapy pipeline and seek to help a growing number of people with cancer, expanding and investing in our manufacturing capabilities is essential.”
The manufacturing site will open within the Urbana Corporate Center, developed by Natelli Communities.
Kite chose Urbana and Maryland in return for state and local tax incentives. They include a $2 million conditional loan from the Maryland Department of Commerce through its Advantage Maryland Fund (formerly the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund) and a $200,000 workforce training grant through the Partnership for Workforce Quality (PWQ) program.
“We are excited to welcome Kite and all of the new life sciences jobs the company will bring to Maryland,” stated Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican elected to his second term last year. “Our highly-educated workforce, proximity to many federal agencies and labs, and critical mass of life sciences companies and resources makes our state the ideal place for Kite to continue its life-saving work developing transformative cancer treatments.”
In addition, Frederick County is providing a Commercial and Industrial Tax Credit, which is offered to new and expanding businesses that focus on manufacturing, fabricating, and assembly.
The company is also eligible for state and local tax credits, including the Job Creation Tax Credit and the More Jobs for Marylanders Tax Credit, which is designed to provide incentives for manufacturers in return for creating new jobs in the state.
“We’re excited to welcome Kite to our life science and biopharma family,” added Frederick County Executive Jan H. Gardner, a Democrat who won election last year as the County’s first county executive. “We were pleased to fast-track their project in Frederick County and want them to know our support will continue into the future. Frederick County is a great place to do business.”
Yescarta, formerly KTE-C19, is a CD19-directed, genetically modified autologous T-cell immunotherapy that is manufactured specifically for each individual patient.
Yescarta is the first CAR-T therapy indicated for adults with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma after two or more lines of systemic therapy, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) not otherwise specified, primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL), high-grade B-cell lymphoma, and DLBCL arising from follicular lymphoma.
Last year, Yescarta generated $264 million in sales, of which nearly one-third (31% or $81 million) came in the fourth quarter. Until now, Yescarta has been manufactured in Kite’s commercial manufacturing facility in El Segundo, CA.
The Frederick County facility will join Kite’s commercial manufacturing network, which includes sites in El Segundo and the Netherlands.
“With the Frederick County site, we will have the opportunity to build and design the facility tailored to our own innovative processes and with state-of-the-art features that will enable us to meet the future needs for cell therapies,” Moore added.