new to hou
Gene therapy company breaks ground on Houston biomanufacturing facility
China-based and Massachusetts-founded PackGene Biotech Inc. broke ground last week on a new 25,000-square-foot biomanufacturing and processing facility just south of NRG Park.
The full-service operations center is slated to include labs, manufacturing clean rooms, warehouse, and office space. According to a release from the company, PackGene already employs about 20 people at an existing space in Houston. The new development will allow the company to nearly triple its Houston-area workforce by the end of the year when the facility is expected to be completed.
E&K Building Group is providing design-build services on the project, and the architect of record is Perkins + Will.
"These capabilities will enable us to serve our U.S. customers better and, importantly, to help bring life-saving therapies to patients faster, more reliably, and more cost- effectively. With this, we are making great strides in advancing our mission of 'making gene therapy affordable'," LiYing Yang, PackGene's CTO, says in a statement.
PackGene, which also has facilities in Shanghai and Boston, is a leader in adeno-associated virus (AAV) research, development and manufacturing. It works to accelerate gene therapy product development and works with customers to support gene therapy programs from early-stage therapeutic discovery to clinical trials.
Late last year, a report showed that Houston was expected to see growth in life sciences development, including in the gene therapy manufacturing field. The Texas Medical Center also revealed its plans for the Bioport .
In light of the report, the GHP recommended a few action items, including "accelerating workforce development programs to produce new graduates in key life sciences occupations, refining Houston’s marketing messages to highlight the region’s existing life science assets and activities within life science R&D and manufacturing," per the report. Additionally, the GHP identified the need to develop a shared regional strategy to attract and retain leading life sciences companies.About a month later, San Jacinto College in Houston announced that it would launch a new College Biotechnology Center at Generation Park in Northeast Houston. The college said the program would offer a specific curriculum in cell and gene therapy as well as hands-on experience in a pilot-scale bioprocessing center.