Pharma company move to Alderley Park will create 50 jobs

A provider of cell and gene therapy solutions is expanding to Bruntwood SciTech’s Alderley Park campus in Cheshire in a move that will create 50 jobs.

The expansion will allow Charles River to quadruple its capacity for high-quality (HQ) plasmid DNA to meet the growing global demand for cell and gene therapy developers from discovery to commercialization.

The new 17,000 square foot high specification laboratory space is currently under construction, with the company investing £7 million in new equipment to meet growing customer needs and to secure future supply.

Charles River currently has nine sites across the UK, including one at High Peak.

The expansion follows Charles River’s acquisition of Keele-based Cobra Biologics, a contract development and manufacturing organization for gene therapy and viral vector and plasmid DNA cells, in March 2021.

Charles River will create 50 jobs, from apprentices to experienced scientists, under its latest growth plans.

Dr. Kath Mackay, Director of Life Sciences at Bruntwood SciTech, a joint venture between Bruntwood and Legal & General, said: “Treating rare or incurable diseases requires decades of investment, perseverance and patience in order to identify effective therapies and treatments.

“The expansion of Charles River in the UK and its move to Alderley Park demonstrates its commitment to meeting this challenge by stimulating the development and manufacturing of these lifesaving medicines. It also represents Alderley Park’s growing reputation as a globally recognized life sciences hub.

Nick Smith, Alderley Park site manager for Charles River, said, “We are excited to expand our viral vector and plasmid DNA development and manufacturing capabilities in Europe.

“This expansion in particular improves access to plasmid DNA which is in unprecedented demand.

“Additional sourcing of critical raw materials from a trusted and experienced partner enables therapeutic developers to confidently move forward with their programs and supports our mission to accelerate the delivery of innovative treatments to patients.”

He added: “Alderley Park is an impressive life sciences hub, and we are honored to join this thriving ecosystem as we grow. This expansion is one of many to follow as we continue to build a strong, integrated global network to reliably support our customers from discovery to commercialization.

Home to over 250 companies, the Alderley Park community also includes Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute as well as global cell therapy company Instil Bio and precision medicine companies Kinomica and Sutura Therapeutics.

The campus also includes companies such as Medicines Discovery Catapult, Sygature Discovery, Evotec and RedX Pharma, and by joining Bruntwood SciTech’s nationwide network, Charles River will also be able to tap into a broader collective of industry collaborators.

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