ElevateBio and the University of Pittsburgh to create biomanufacturing center to accelerate cell and gene therapy innovation

ElevateBio and the University of Pittsburgh have entered into a long-term strategic partnership to accelerate the development of highly innovative cell and gene therapies.

Through this agreement, ElevateBio will locate one of its next BaseCamp process development and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) manufacturing facilities in Pittsburgh, fully equipped with its enabling technologies, including gene editing, induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) and cell, vector, and protein engineering capabilities. The University of Pittsburgh has long been a research powerhouse and is consistently among the top U.S. institutions in National Institutes of Health research funding.

The Richard King Mellon Foundation announced a $100 million grant to the University of Pittsburgh in November 2021 to create the Pitt BioForge BioManufacturing Center at Hazelwood Green. The grant was the largest single-project grant in the Foundation’s 75-year history. The University of Pittsburgh and ElevateBio BaseCamp intend to locate the new technology-enabled process development and GMP manufacturing facility at Pitt BioForge at Hazelwood Green to further innovation in the Pittsburgh region. The new facility is expected to generate more than 170 permanent full-time jobs, 900 construction jobs, and 360 off-site support jobs.

“This announcement supports the region’s rise as a leader in cell and gene therapy and advances our vision of bringing an entirely new commercial manufacturing sector to the area,” says Patrick Gallagher, chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh. “The University of Pittsburgh is proud to partner with ElevateBio in this work, which will see us leveraging lessons from the lab—in new and exciting ways—for the benefit of human health.”

“To realize our vision of transforming the cell and gene therapy field for decades to come, broadening our footprint across metropolitan areas is a key priority for us, and we are thrilled that the University of Pittsburgh will be home to one of our BaseCamp facilities,” said David Hallal, chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ElevateBio. “We’ve identified Pittsburgh as an ideal location to extend our BaseCamp presence as it sits at the intersection of science, technology, and talent. We are grateful for the support of the Governor and County Executive as we bring the first-of-its-kind offering we have built at ElevateBio BaseCamp to advance the work of the entire biopharmaceutical industry.”

Pitt Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences, Dr. Anantha Shekhar, continued by saying: “We have some exceptional emerging research coming out of the University of Pittsburgh. However, the missing ingredient has been access to high-quality process science and manufacturing capabilities. As we position ourselves to become the next global hub for life sciences and biotech, we were in search of the right partner to help us realize our vision, and ElevateBio’s expertise and reputation in cell and gene therapy made them the perfect partner to accelerate our ability to build our biomanufacturing center of excellence.”

“This partnership between two national life-science powerhouses – the University of Pittsburgh and ElevateBio – is a consequential step forward in realizing our shared vision to make Pittsburgh a national and international biomanufacturing destination,” said Sam Reiman, director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. “Pitt BioForge is a generational opportunity to bring extraordinary economic-development benefits to our region, and life-changing cell and gene therapies to patients – distribution that will be accelerated and enhanced by Pitt’s partnership with UPMC. ElevateBio could have chosen to locate its next biomanufacturing hub anywhere in the world; the fact they are choosing to come to Pittsburgh is another powerful validation of our region, and the Pitt BioForge project at Hazelwood Green.”

“We are excited that Pitt, working with UPMC Enterprises, has attracted ElevateBio to this region,” said Leslie Davis, president and Chief Executive Officer of UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center). “The company’s expertise and manufacturing capabilities, combined with Pitt research and UPMC’s clinical excellence, are essential to delivering the life-changing therapies that people depend on UPMC to deliver.”

In addition, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the County of Allegheny have provided incentive grants to ElevateBio in support of this partnership to build a biomanufacturing center and establish Pittsburgh as a premier biomanufacturing destination.

“This announcement is continued verification of Pittsburgh’s ability to attract new and emerging companies that provide economic opportunities in the life sciences field. The University of Pittsburgh and its medical school are a magnet for that ecosystem and along with this region’s quality of life and investment in innovation, we continue to see businesses choosing Pittsburgh,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “The creation of the Innovation District, and the many companies that call it home, continue to provide great opportunities for talent to fill jobs across the ecosystem’s pipeline. We welcome ElevateBio to our region and look forward to all that you will do here as part of this great ecosystem.”

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