Catalent snaps up New Jersey cell therapy plant for $44.5M days after revealing big biologics expansion

Days after throwing down $350 million to beef up biologics manufacturing in Indiana, high-flying CDMO Catalent is buying a cell therapy plant on the East Coast.

Catalent has paid $44.5 million for Erytech Pharma’s commercial cell therapy factory in Princeton, New Jersey, the company said Monday. As part of the deal, Catalent will chip in on long-term supply of Erytech’s lead product candidate eryaspase—also known as Graspa—in development for acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

All staff from the Erytech site will transfer over to the Catalent team, the companies said.

The 30,900-square-foot facility boasts 16 production suites plus laboratories for analytical, quality control and microbiology testing, Catalent said.

Catalent plans to convert the site into a “strategic campus” to develop and make cell therapies at both clinical and commercial scales. Conveniently, the Princeton site is close to Catalent’s Baltimore facilities, where the company develops and manufactures viral vectors and plasmid DNA—crucial components for many cell and gene therapies.

The site will also work in tandem with Catalent’s clinical-scale cell therapy plant in Houston the company said.

In addition to the plant buy, Catalent has signed the lease for an adjacent 23,000-square-foot building that could be used for extra lab or manufacturing space. It’s also snagged another building in Princeton’s University Square Campus Park for potential future expansions.

Aside from Erytech’s red blood cell candidate Graspa, Catalent will help with development of Erytech’s pipeline of encapsulated red-blood-cell based therapeutics, which it’s developing against serious forms of cancer and orphan diseases, the companies added.

“The talented and experienced staff already employed at the facility, the capabilities it has in place, and the opportunity to quickly add further capacity on the same site, allow Catalent to expand rapidly to create a U.S. campus and center of excellence for cell therapy development and manufacturing that will serve customers around the world,” Manja Boerman, Ph.D., president of Catalent cell and gene therapy, said in a statement.

Catalent counts six facilities among its cell and gene therapy network, including sites in Maryland and Texas plus those in Belgium and Germany. Those sites run the gamut from small- and large-scale clinical and commercial manufacturing to fill and finish, the CDMO said.

Monday's plant purchase comes hot on the heels of another U.S. manufacturing move for Catalent. Last week, the company said it would invest $350 million to upgrade biologics operations and add more than 1,000 jobs at its facility in Bloomington, Indiana.

Elsewhere this year, Catalent has snapped up a biologics development and manufacturing center near Oxford in the U.K., and, in mid-March, the company wrapped up a $30 million expansion at its site in Limoges, France.