Latest British Biotech News
Nov 18, 2020
For decades, the United States and Britain have enjoyed special relationships that cross political, economic, and military lines. But, the two countries share the same friendship in the Life Sciences arena, and leading biotechnology centers such as the BioHealth Capital Region and Philadelphia demonstrate that connection. There are several similarities between BioHealth Capital Region, Philadelphia and UK. All of them have important programs in gene and cell therapy. And they are home to major government agencies. The UK’s Midlands is home to the National Health Service and several academic and commercial institutions. Maryland is home to the US Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies. The US region is also home to many significant academic and commercial institutions. Most recently, a decades-old messenger RNA work that originated in Philadelphia University of Pennsylvania is a major contributor to the COVID Moderna vaccine. Last year, State of Maryland and Midlands Engine UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding intended to grow the life science business in both regions. Representatives from both regions will undertake trade missions to explore opportunities and take advantage of existing trans-Atlantic success stories to build on the solid foundations that exist. Several companies straddle the Atlantic Ocean, with one foot in England and one foot in the BioHealth Capital Region or Philadelphia. GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Adaptimmune, Gyroscope, and Autolus are five such companies. Headquartered in the UK, GSK has a presence in Maryland and Pennsylvania. In 2016, GlaxoSmithKline opened a global vaccine research and development center in Rockville to be close to the National Institutes of Health and other federally funded life science institutions. The Maryland facility was expanded in 2019 with a $ 139 million investment to increase the production capacity of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for Benlysta, the treatment of chronic autoimmune disease lupus. The expansion of the Maryland facility is expected to increase GSK’s mass drug production capacity by 50%. The 2019 expansion also paved the way for the company to use the facility to produce a new subcutaneous type of Benlysta. Apart from treating lupus, the facility is also used to support the shingles treatment of Shingrix, and to develop a vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the leading cause of respiratory tract infections in children and the elderly. The Maryland site is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for large and small scale manufacturing. GSK intends to develop a bio-preparedness organization in Maryland which will be used to develop new vaccines against emerging viruses, bacteria and other pathogens that pose potential threats to global public health. BPO doesn’t work for companies. At the same time GSK is expanding its Maryland facilities, the company is also investing $ 120 million in Upper Providence, Penn. location, to expand the manufacture of drugs for oncology and other specialty diseases. Upper Merion uses new technologies in bioreactors, such as single-use and single-use components. In 2018, a London-based T cell therapy company Autoloop announce it will establish its commercial manufacturing operations in the US in Maryland. The company settled in the area because of its biomanufacturing staff and leadership talents, and general biotechnology business skills, the company said at the time. The company is developing AUTO3, a CAR T cell therapy that targets the CD19 and CD22 antigens, which are expressed by cancer cells in B cell leukemia and lymphoma. In addition, the company is developing therapies aimed at Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and solid tumors, including GD2-positive tumors and prostate cancer. Adaptimmune, which has facilities in Philadelphia and Oxfordshire, UK, is a cell therapy company that aims to treat cancer. The CAR-T program is known to benefit some haematological cancers. However, Adaptimmune treats solid tumors with a unique SPEAR (Specific Peptide Enhanced Affinity Receptor) T cell platform, which enables T-cell engineering to target and destroy cancer in multiple solid tumors. In 2015, the company announced a $ 25 million investment to open a new 46,000 square foot facility on the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Based in the UK Gyroscope , joining Pennsylvania-based Biomedical Orbit in 2019, providing a foothold in the region. The company is developing GT005, an investigative gene therapy for people with geographic atrophy (GA) due to dry age-related macular degeneration. The gyroscope dosed its first patient in a Phase II study earlier this month. The FDA granted the Fast Track designation to GT005 for the treatment of GA in people with a variant in their complement gene. As one of the leading companies developing a vaccine against COVID-19, AstraZeneca has demonstrated the importance of both the UK and the BioHealth Capital Region in responding to a global pandemic. In addition to the financial boost that has been brought to the region from US financing for vaccine development, it has forged strong economic links with Emergent BioSolutions in Maryland to increase production of vaccine candidates. AstraZeneca’s has become known in the region through its Gaithersburg-based subsidiary Medimmune, which folded into holding company in 2019, and has become the regional anchor biotechnology company responsible for driving the BioHealth Capital Zone development strategy and the cornerstone of regional success. In addition to Gaithersburg ‘global R&D hub, AstraZeneca also operates a Biological Manufacturing Center in Frederick, Md. Represents the largest biological manufacturing facility in the global network and asset portfolio of the company. Many commonalities and mutually beneficial goals have forged strong links between the US and UK biotechnology centers. With the foundation for collaboration established, it’s no surprise to see more biotech companies leveraging this relationship to expand their markets in the UK, Maryland and Philadelphia as they grow. The following two tabs modify the content below. Alex Keown is a freelance journalist who writes on a wide variety of subjects including the pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology and life sciences. Prior to freelancing, Alex served as a staff writer and editor for several publications.