With demand surging for lentiviral vectors, CDMO VIVEbiotech expands capacity 400% in cross-town move

viral vector
Spanish CDMO VIVEbiotech, which is focused solely on the production of lentiviral vectors, is moving into a new plant which will allow it to increase production by 400%. (Fierce Pharma)(Harvard University)

As more cell, gene and immunotherapy applications emerge for lentiviral vectors, demand for their production continues to rise.

With its move last week into a larger manufacturing facility, CDMO VIVEbiotech of San Sebastián, Spain, will be better positioned to meet that demand.

The new site will allow VIVE to boost its average batch size per year fourfold by 2022. VIVEbiotech will install the largest bioreactor available in the industry and the new space will accommodate seven clean rooms, providing for further expansion of batch size, the company said.

The CDMO, which opened in 2015 with eight employees, expects to reach 85 by the end of this year. It's engaged solely in the production of lentiviral vectors, serving 20 global partners on 35 different projects. It's moving to another facility in the same city, its website shows.

RELATED: Bluebird's Zynteglo safety snag could spell trouble for other gene therapies: analysts

VIVE expects transition to the new space to be complete by October. The project adds 32,000 square feet to the company’s infrastructure.    

As VIVEbiotech CEO Gurutz Linazasoro noted in a release, the pharmaceutical industry has been getting increasingly involved in cell and gene therapy research and manufacturing in recent years. That's resulted in "exponential growth of lentiviral demand," and the CDMO is responding by moving across town to a larger facility.

RELATED: France’s ANSM orders French biotech Theravectys to suspend manufacturing

Lentiviral vectors have attracted interest for their ability to infect dividing and non-dividing cells, in addition to their low cytotoxicity rate. Therapies using the vectors include Mustang Bio’s "bubble boy" candidate MB-107, Orchard Therapeutics’ metachromatic leukodystrophy treatment Libmeldy, which recently won approval, and Bluebird Bio’s sickle cell therapy Zynteglo.