- China-based contract manufacturer PackGene BioTech broke ground on a biomanufacturing and processing facility for gene therapies in Houston, an expanding life sciences hub.
- The full-service facility will include process, analytical and quality control laboratories, in addition to manufacturing cleanrooms, a warehouse and office space, the company announced last month.
- The company expects to nearly triple its Houston-area workforce to 60 people by the end of the year when the 25,000-square-foot facility is complete.
Massachusetts-founded PackGene is growing its Houston operations to support its U.S. customers working on gene therapies. It has additional facilities in Boston, Massachusetts, as well as in Guangzhou and Shanghai, China.
The biomanufacturer produces adeno-associated viral vectors, which are viruses engineered to deliver DNA to target cells. PackGene’s AAV products are used throughout gene therapy development, including early-stage research and development and in clinical trials, according to its website.
PackGene aims to offer fully-integrated services at its facilities, including plasmid, viral vector, fill-finish and quality control, to accelerate gene therapy product development, according to the news release. Its Houston capabilities currently include some process and analytical development as well as laboratory space.
“We are excited to bring economical, reliable, and scalable AAV products as well as our viral vector and GMP production capabilities, to our next full-service operations in Houston,” Chief Technology Officer LiYing Yang said in a statement.
Houston is home to a burgeoning life sciences industry, with nearly 700 companies in the field, according to a 2022 study commissioned by the Greater Houston Partnership. The findings highlighted the city’s expertise in cell and gene therapy, biologic drug development as well as Houston’s access to talent from surrounding universities as factors in its assessment.
“We do healthcare delivery all so well in Houston,” said Ann Tanabe, CEO of BioHouston Inc, a nonprofit working to establish Houston as a global competitor in the life science industry, in a statement. “We have the greatest academic research institutions; we have a vibrant early-stage entrepreneur community at TMC innovation; now we have manufacturing, which is a huge piece of the overall delivery system for patients.”