BioNTech Expands Cell Therapy Operations into Montgomery County

BioNTech, the German-based company responsible for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, will expand its operations to Montgomery County and acquire a Gaithersburg manufacturing facility and cell therapy R&D platform from Kite, a unit of Gilead Sciences. This expansion will support the development of BioNTech’s expanding pipeline of novel cell therapies.

The company recently rose to international prominence after its development of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and is looking to add an innovative neoantigen T-cell receptor (TCR) therapy to its portfolio of “cutting-edge individualized cancer therapies” with the Kite purchase. The new manufacturing plant will increase the company’s cell therapy production and strengthen its supply for clinical trials of cancer treatments in the United States.

“The development of individualized cancer therapies is at the core of our work at BioNTech. The acquisition of the Kite facility and its individualized TCR platform allows us to accelerate the clinical development of our cell therapies in the U.S. and advance at the forefront of individualized cell therapies,” Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech, said in a recent press release. “It also strengthens our presence in the U.S.”

BioNTech is expected to retain the existing workers at the site as well as hire additional employees there. The expansion will provide many local opportunities for growth and prospective partnerships.

Montgomery County is also home to many other life science manufacturing organizations, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). To date, the county has invested nearly $8 billion in life science companies with a presence in the area since 2020.

“We’re proud that BioNTech has selected Montgomery County as the location to expand its operations,” County Executive Marc Elrich said. “We are one of the nation’s top life sciences clusters and our proximity to the FDA and NIH, along with our high-quality workforce, makes us the ideal place for expansion. BioNTech joins a growing list of companies that have recognized that great things are happening in Montgomery County.”

The BioNTech and Kite transaction is expected to close by the end of July. For more information, check out the company’s latest press release or the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation’s (MCEDC) website.

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About Gracie Tanner

Gracie Tanner is a freelance journalist with Montgomery Community Media. She is also a junior at the University of Maryland.

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