National Resilience teams with MD Anderson to add cell therapy JV to its bustling biomanufacturing network

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is tapping biomanufacturing arriviste National Resilience on its quest to speed new cell therapies to cancer patients.

Together, the groups will stand up the Cell Therapy Manufacturing Center—a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing plant at the Texas Medical Center in Houston—which will be staffed by 70 employees. To start, those workers will focus on process and analytical development, plus early- and clinical-stage manufacturing, MD Anderson said late this week.

So far in the brief history of cell therapies, "structural challenges" have impeded the progress made by the next-gen drugs, Jason Bock, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the Cell Therapy Manufacturing Center, said in a statement. To hear National Resilience CEO Rahul Singhvi, Sc.D., tell it, the unrealized “promise” of the personalized medicines comes down to “a lack of innovation in biomanufacturing.”

The partnership will seek to remedy the situation by leveraging Resilience’s biomanufacturing technologies, analytics and national cell therapy production network in tandem with MD Anderson’s immunotherapy and cell therapy know-how, plus the center’s clinical trials infrastructure.

Beyond hustling cell therapies into the clinic, the partners hope to tee up “scalability and a smooth transition to late-phase clinical and commercial activities.”

With the project, MD Anderson and Resilience have pledged to advance the “most promising cell therapy modalities,” including engineered tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells, endogenous T-cells (ETCs), engineered natural killer (NK) cells and more. The partners will aim to tackle both solid and hematological tumors.

Resilience, for its part, has been on a biomanufacturing expansion spree ever since it emerged in November 2020 on a mission to shore up production of medicines like cell and gene therapies, viral vectors, proteins and vaccines.

Just a few months after its debut, Resilience snapped up two commercial plants in Canada and the U.S., bringing its North American footprint to more than 750,000 square feet at the time. Stateside, Resilience got its hands on a former Genzyme manufacturing plant from Sanofi in Boston, plus a 136,000-square-foot commercial drug factory in Mississuaga, Canada.

One month later, Resilience picked up biologic drug substance maker Ology Bioservices, adding 300 new employees and 200,000 square feet of workspace to its production network.

Meanwhile, the venture-backed manufacturing specialist has locked up production deals with the likes of bluebird bio, Moderna and Takeda in recent months, too.