Transgene sells biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility to ABL Europe

Also signs a three-year deal with ABL Europe to produce clinical lots of immunotherapies under development for cancer and infectious diseases

French biotechnology firm Transgene, which specialises in the development of immunotherapies, has sold its biopharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Illkirch, France to contract research organisation ABL Europe, for an undisclosed sum.

ABL Europe is a subsidiary of ABL Inc, a contract research and manufacturing organisation, based in Rockville, MD in the US.

Transgene, ABL Inc and ABL Europe are all members of the Institut Mérieux.

The Illkirch facility is designed and equipped to manufacture clinical lots of biophamaceuticals and vaccines using viral vectors.

ABL Europe has received authorisation from the French Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament to operate a pharmaceutical establishment, a mandatory step needed before operations can begin at the facility. Manufacturing and other services will be provided under EU and US GMP regulations.

The acquisition provides ABL with a European bioproduction facility that meets stringent quality standards, allowing the firm to serve the European CMO market, in addition to its already well established position in that field in the US.

The sale is the last step of Transgene’s reorganisation initiated in June 2015, under which the firm said it would outsource the manufacturing of clinical lots and focus on its core expertise, the immuno-engineering of viral vectors and clinical developments.

Transgene and ABL Europe have also signed a three-year agreement under which ABL will manufacture clinical lots for Transgene.

Thomas VanCott, President and CEO of ABL Inc, said: 'We have seen a consistent increase in demand for the production of virus-based products in recent years. Innovators from industry and the public sector require partners that can provide diverse and high level skill sets for the development of vaccines against emerging diseases, and gene and immunotherapies. Production in compliance with pharmaceutical-grade quality is essential to advance these products from the laboratory to scalable, GMP-compliant production for clinical and commercial supply.'

Philippe Archinard, Chairman and CEO of Transgene, added: 'We are delighted about crossing this final major step of our reorganisation plan and the implementation of our new industrial strategy. We are selling a quality asset to a player we fully trust. Securing the procurement of our clinical lots for the next three years was a key element of the deployment of our clinical development plan. This new strategy for the production of our clinical lots and, later, commercial lots, leans now on two important actors: ABL Europe and Sanofi/Genzyme with whom we signed an agreement in 2013.'

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