Jaguar to pump $125M into North Carolina gene therapy manufacturing facility

Jaguar Gene Therapy has labs in Cary, North Carolina, and now the company is looking to expand its footprint in that state. Towards that end, it will spend $125 million to upgrade an existing facility into a state-of-the-art cell and gene manufacturing site in that state.

The 174,000 square-foot plant is located in Durham, 20 miles down the road from Jaguar’s North Carolina labs.

The renovated manufacturing operation will focus on clinical and commercial production of treatments that target a genetic trigger of autism, as well as Type 1 diabetes.

“This strategic investment will leverage the team’s proven CMC (chemistry, manufacturing and controls) expertise and may enable Jaguar to potentially accelerate development timelines and bring our therapies to patients and families as safely and as rapidly as possible,” Joe Nolan, Jaguar chief executive, said in a statement.

To help sweeten the deal for Jaguar, the state threw in more than $7 million in state and local incentives, the company said, adding that its plans to expand North Carolina operations will produce about 200 new jobs in the coming years.

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Jaguar’s pipeline includes gene therapies for galactosemia, an inborn error of metabolism; autism spectrum disorder with a genetic cause; and Type 1 diabetes.

Axovia Therapeutics, Jaguar’s U.K.-based subsidiary, is developing treatments for a subtype of Bardet-Biedl BBS1, a life-threatening neurometabolic condition, with an IND planned for the second half of 2022.

In April, Jaguar hauled in $139 million in Series B funding that included Goldman Sachs and Eli Lilly. Nolan and several other members of the executive team are veterans of AveXis, the Novartis-owned company that launched Zolgensma, the gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy.