TGen and City of Hope announce letter of intent to develop new cell therapy manufacturing facility

City of Hope, a world-renowned independent cancer research and treatment center, and its affiliate, Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), have announced a letter of intent to develop a state-of-the-art cell therapy manufacturing facility in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, a move that would improve the speed at which stem cell research and cancer treatment is delivered.

The Phoenix facility would model City of Hope's three Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) facilities in Duarte, California, which have produced well over 1,300 cell and gene therapy products and oncology drugs for many cancer clinical trials across the nation. City of Hope is one of a small number of select cancer centers in the U.S. to provide both biological and chemical GMP manufacturing at a single institution. Its facilities have the ability to produce both gene therapy viruses and cells needed for CAR T therapies.

"City of Hope is dedicated to innovation in biomedical science and has one of the most comprehensive CAR T cell programs in the world with 16 ongoing CAR T clinical trials," said Robert W. Stone, president and chief executive officer of City of Hope as well as vice chairman of the TGen board of directors. "Cancer patients need effective treatments now. City of Hope and TGen are working to quickly move effective therapies from the laboratory to patients' bedside. Additional cGMP facilities will help us expand our capabilities to serve people in Arizona and across the nation."

Demand for clinical cell therapies is expected to grow 42 percent annually over the next decade, according to "Cell Therapy Manufacturing Market." Most cell therapy manufacturing facilities are at capacity or over capacity because demand is outpacing production rates.

"This significant investment further enhances Arizona's reputation as a hub for bioscience and health care innovation," said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. "Our state offers a strong concentration of talent ready to meet the needs of this facility. The work being conducted by City of Hope and TGen is critical in the fight against cancer, and Arizona is proud to play a role in it."

The planned facility would meet an urgent need of accelerating cures for patients in Arizona, Southern California and elsewhere. The facility would also provide additional opportunities to partner and collaborate with scientists in Arizona, an important objective for TGen, an affiliate of City of Hope.

At this future facility, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, which have demonstrated durable cancer remission in blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, would be among the cells that are produced. The new facility could also support the cell therapy production needs of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies who need this kind of specialized GMP capability to move clinical trial programs forward.

"The road to future cancer cures requires genomic-enabled medicine and the type of immune-system enhancements that would result from this cell therapy manufacturing facility, which will provide local access to new treatments for Arizona patients," said Jeffrey Trent, Ph.D., TGen president and research director. "City of Hope's clinical and manufacturing expertise in immunotherapy is at the forefront of this field, and combined with TGen's genomic testing, offers patients new hope for their future."

The Arizona Commerce Authority will work in partnership with City of Hope and TGen to provide workforce development assistance through its Navigator and local One-Stop programs.

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