Charles River's cell therapy push powers on with latest expansion

Just weeks after opening a plasmid production facility in the U.K., Charles River Laboratories debuted the expansion of its cell therapy manufacturing facility in Memphis, Tennessee. 

The Boston-based contract research and manufacturing specialist added nine processing suites to its 16 clean rooms at the site. The additions will be able to handle high volume production—plus options for dual production lines—for late-stage clinical and commercial cell therapies, the company said in a Nov. 7 press release.

Charles River didn't disclose the financial details of the expansion.

Meanwhile, the facility recently received approval from the European Medicines Agency to commercially produce allogenic cell therapy drug products, the first for a CDMO in North America, the company said.

The COVID-19 pandemic ignited a firestorm of cell therapy manufacturing construction and expansion across the CDMO landscape. Not to be left in the wake, CRL jumped on the cell therapy wagon and has been aggressive in growing its portfolio of CDMO capabilities to include production of plasmid DNA, viral vectors and more.

In 2021, the company snapped up Cognate BioServices, Cobra Biologics and Vigene Biosciences as part of its growth strategy.

In mid-October, CRL opened the doors to a 16,000-square-foot facility located at the company’s Alderley Park site in Cheshire, England. That facility is focused on producing “phase-appropriate” plasmid DNA, which is a critical starting material for cell and gene therapy developers.

And, back in April, CRL shelled out $295 million to acquire Explora BioLabs, which provides drug industry customers with services for early-phase research.