CRL opens UK plasmid facility, inks collaboration deal with Nanoscope

U.S. contract research and manufacturer Charles River Laboratories has opened its plasmid production facility in the U.K. to support the development of new cell and gene therapies.

The 16,000-square-foot facility, located at the company’s Alderley Park site in Cheshire, England, was built to rapidly produce “phase-appropriate” plasmid DNA, which is a critical starting material for cell and gene therapy developers, said CRL.

The Alderley Park opening represents CRL’s latest move as it expands its global operations that encompass preclinical research and contract manufacturing. In April, the company shelled out $295 million to acquire contract vivarium services firm Explora BioLabs. San Diego-based Explora provides drug industry customers with contract vivarium operation facilities and management services for early-phase research.

Alderley Park “expands our capabilities and will help fast-track the process of bringing therapies to market, address global supply shortages and support therapeutic developers through rapid access to material,” Niall Dinwoodie, CRL’s executive director for gene manufacturing in Europe, said in a statement today.

Earlier this week, CRL announced it had inked a collaboration deal with Nanoscope Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotech that is developing gene therapies for retinal degenerative diseases. Through this partnership, Nanoscope will have access to established manufacturing platforms and multiple CRL centers of excellence.

Nanoscope’s ontogenetic therapy delivers multicopper oxidase genes into retinal cells via a single intravitreal injection to produce vision in different color environments. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.