GE’s new factory-in-a-box accelerates the production of viral vector based therapeutics

Chalfont St Giles, UK – 17 April 2018 — GE Healthcare is launching a ready-to-run factory-in-a-box to speed up the production of viral vector based therapeutics, including viral vector based vaccines, oncolytic viruses and gene and cell therapies. The new, prefabricated and modular KUBio biomanufacturing facility is designed, constructed, assembled and fully fitted-out to current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) standards significantly faster that is required to build a traditional, stick-built manufacturing facility. This makes it possible to build capacity quickly and easily, allowing drug manufacturers to adapt to market requirements. The factory is also pre-engineered so that it can be expanded at a later stage to offer increased manufacturing output according to the drug demand.
 
Commercial viral vector therapies started appearing in mid-2000, and their popularity has increased due to their platform approach and advancements in cell engineering (1). Currently, there are over 700 viral vector based therapies in clinical trials (2) and several treatments have already received a market approval (3). Viral vectors are modified viruses that are being used as vehicles (or ‘carriers’) to deliver genetic material into target cells. They protect the new gene from degradation, while delivering it to the target cells that start using the new genetic code to cure or treat a certain disease. 
 
GE’s newest KUBio is designed for products requiring a biosafety level 2 (BSL2) environment such as viral vector based therapies, but even monoclonal antibody (mAb) and multi-product manufacturers can use the facility. The standard KUBio BSL2 includes a FlexFactory single-use biomanufacturing platform, where the recommended bioreactor size is between 200 and 1,000 liters. The facility can be extended with a larger, or additional manufacturing suite according to the market need. As a part of the project, GE provides end-to-end bioprocessing support including manufacturing equipment, a prefabricated modular facility and accompanying suite of services, including installation, financial guidance, project coordination, qualification and equipment maintenance services.  
 
“The market is moving towards more targeted therapies designed for smaller patient populations. The challenge is that most therapeutics going through clinical trials are not suited for the existing, predominantly large-scale manufacturing infrastructure. Biomanufacturers are looking for fast market entry, lower costs, smaller batches and multiproduct manufacturing flexibility,” says Olivier Loeillot, General Manager, BioProcess, GE Healthcare Life Sciences.
 
“As the viral vector based therapies have started entering the market, we are proud to be supporting access for these promising new treatments with flexible manufacturing capacity that is in the right scale,” Loeillot says. 
 
GE already offers a prefabricated manufacturing solution, KUBio for the production of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), a FlexFactory biomanufacturing platform for a variety of biologics and most recently, a scalable FlexFactory platform for cell therapy. Three KUBios and over 40 FlexFactories have already been purchased globally.
 
(2) Based on an internal GE analysis of worldwide R&D pipelines over a seven-year period (includes active trials in December 2016 but excludes suspended/terminated/withdrawn trials)
(3) Including GSK Strimvelis & MolMed Zalmoxis (GT HSC) - Novartis CAR-T Kymriah (CT LV based) - Kite/Gilead CAR-T Yescarta (CT RV based) - Spark Luxturna (AAV based GT). 
 
About GE Healthcare
Harnessing data and analytics across hardware, software and biotech, GE Healthcare is the $18 billion healthcare business of GE (NYSE: GE). As a leading provider of medical imaging equipment, with a track record of more than 100 years in the industry and more than 50,000 employees across 100 countries, we transform healthcare by delivering better outcomes for providers and patients. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter or The Pulse for latest news.