Bayer says the $250 million Berkeley plant will support its growing advanced therapy pipeline, including candidate bemdaneprocel.

Dan Stanton, Managing editor

October 11, 2023

2 Min Read
Bayer opens doors at CA cell therapy plant
Image c/o Bayer

Bayer says the $250 million Berkeley plant will support its growing advanced therapy pipeline, including the potential launch of Parkinson’s cell therapy bemdaneprocel (BRT-DA01).

In April 2021, Bayer laid down plans to build its Cell Therapy Launch Facility on its 46-acre campus in Berkeley, California at a cost of approximately $200 million.

Two-and-a-half years on, and with an additional cost of $50 million, the German pharma giant has opened the 100,000 square-foot facility, bringing modular space for cell culture, viral transduction, and automated filling of clinical to commercial-scale cell therapies.


Image c/o Bayer

“Our new cell therapy facility represents true innovation in product development and manufacturing in addition to contributing to Bayer’s sustainability goal as our first fully electric pharmaceutical manufacturing plant,” said Sebastian Guth, president of Bayer USA.

The plant forms part of a wider investment at Berkeley, with Bayer pledging a $1.2 billion investment over the next 30 years to the site. The cell therapy plant follows the $150 million construction of a Cell Culture Technology Center (CCTC), which opened on the campus in 2021.

The facility also supports Bayer’s advanced therapies ambitions. The company jumped into the space in 2020 through various deals in the space, including the $2 billion purchase of AskBio and the acquisition of BlueRock Therapeutics for $240 million.

The former brought Bayer an adeno-associated virus (AAV) manufacturing platform, clinical-stage candidates, and a contract manufacturing unit. The latter added an allogeneic cell therapy pipeline, including bemdaneprocel (BRT-DA01), an investigational cell therapy in trials for Parkinson’s disease and one of the candidates set to be produced at Berkeley.

“Having access to this Cell Therapy Launch Facility is central to our goal to deliver impactful cell therapies from our pipeline to patients in need,” said Seth Ettenberg, CEO of BlueRock Therapeutics.

“Our team is excited to be working shoulder to shoulder with Bayer’s biotech scientists and manufacturing experts as we look to scale up manufacturing for our first investigational therapy, bemdaneprocel for Parkinson’s disease, as it advances through clinical trials.”

In August, Bayer/BlueRock announced positive readout from a Phase I study of bemdaneprocel with no major safety issues across a cohort of 12 trial participants.

About the Author(s)

Dan Stanton

Managing editor

Journalist covering the international biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing industries.

Founder and editor of Bioprocess Insider, a daily news offshoot of publication Bioprocess International, with expertise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, in particular, the following niches: CROs, CDMOs, M&A, IPOs, biotech, bioprocessing methods and equipment, drug delivery, regulatory affairs and business development.

From London, UK originally but currently based in Montpellier, France through a round-a-bout adventure that has seen me live and work in Leeds (UK), London, New Zealand, and China.

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