AAV-maker Ascend pockets FL plant from Beacon

Ascend will acquire a facility in Alachua, Florida from ophthalmic gene therapy company Beacon Therapeutics.

Shreeyashi Ojha, Reporter

April 11, 2024

2 Min Read

Through this transaction, Ascend Advanced Therapies, an adeno-associated virus (AAV) developer, will gain the manufacturing facility but also its chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC) team. Additionally, the two firms have partnered on manufacturing its products for clinical and commercial use.

The CMC team in Alachua has expertise with gene therapies including quality assurance and control, which said Ascend is needed to produce materials at clinical scale.

“For Ascend, we are gaining the existing facility space in the United States at a quality level we need, as well as staff with deep expertise,” Mike Stella, CEO of Ascend told BioProcess Insider.

“It makes our foundation stronger, as we seek to continue setting roots in the gene therapy sector. And Beacon is gaining access to support at a level that they know they need to commercialize their existing portfolio while continuing to innovate new products. Together, our teams are a deep differentiator, particularly due to the maturity of our industry. We will continue to focus on gene therapies across serotypes.”

According to Ascend, this addition is a commitment to build forward from a stable foundation of tech and talent to be the leading gene therapy partner.

“We are gaining a fully intact production facility in the US that has the right upgrades for work today, as well as the ability to grow for the future. This site now adds to our global network from coast to coast in the US and our team in Munich, Germany. We look forward to sharing some of this history and playing a part in the continued growth of biotech across Florida,” said Stella.

Ascend confirmed its plans to expand the facility through the end of 2025 as it continues to strengthen the team and support Beacon and other client programs.

“Our partnership with Ascend ensures consistent manufacturing output for our gene therapies, which are complicated to make, and a dependable drug supply to support our clinical programs,” a spokesperson for Beacon told us.

Beacon is the third gene therapy firm launched by British closed-ended investment trust Syncona Investment Management and formed by a £96 million ($120 million) Series A financing in 2023. It was created by bringing together Applied Genetic Technologies Corporation’s (AGTC’s) late-stage X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP) program with two pre-clinical programs.

About the Author(s)

Shreeyashi Ojha

Reporter, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering the manufacturing and processing sectors for biopharmaceuticals globally.  

Originally from India, I am a Londoner at heart. I have recently graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London.  

Feel free to reach out to me at: [email protected].

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