Astellas spends $70M on Bay Area gene therapy hub, bringing R&D work under one wing

Astellas has rolled out plans for a $70 million innovation center on the West Coast. This sets up a consolidated shop in South San Francisco to house the Japanese pharma’s operations, which is currently scattered across the region.

The biotechnology campus will be housed in a new 154,000-square-foot building, bringing together Astellas’ research, technical operations, medical and development, commercial and relevant administrative support functions, according to a Friday press release.

Astellas said the new hub will provide lab space and support future growth as it advances cell and gene therapies in rare diseases and cancer. The company has a number of these therapies working through the clinic, including candidates for X-linked myotubular myopathy, Pompe disease and myotonic dystrophy type 1.

It’s been a bit of a rocky road for this modality, however, as Astellas has faced a number of clinical setbacks including a clinical hold for a phase 1/2 trial for the Pompe disease medicine AT845 after a serious adverse event occurred in June.

Chief Scientific Officer Yoshitsugu Shitaka, Ph.D., likened the new Bay Area facility to the Biomedical Innovation Hub that Astellas owns in the Boston area. The new building is expected to be complete in summer 2023, and Astellas will occupy the entire space.

In June, Astellas opened a 135,000 square foot, $100 million gene therapy manufacturing facility in North Carolina, boosting its capabilities in commercial-scale manufacturing.