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BioNTech, Pfizer Vaccine Partner, Opens Research Plant In MOCO

Patch logo Patch 4 days ago Colleen Martin
a sign in front of a building: The headquarters of German immunotherapy company BioNTech is seen on November 10, 2020 in Mainz, Germany. The company is purchasing a new facility for cell therapy research in Gaithersburg. The deal is expected to close by the end of the month. © Getty Images The headquarters of German immunotherapy company BioNTech is seen on November 10, 2020 in Mainz, Germany. The company is purchasing a new facility for cell therapy research in Gaithersburg. The deal is expected to close by the end of the month.

GAITHERSBURG, MD — Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine partner is opening a new facility for cell therapy research in Gaithersburg.

BioNTech, a German-based company, is planning to work on a neoantigen T-cell receptor (TCR) therapy at the new Montgomery County location. They bought the facility and cell therapy R&D platform from Kite, a cancer research company part of Gilead Sciences.

“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 their recent release. “It also strengthens our presence in the U.S.”

The research done at the Gaithersburg site will complement the research done at the home site in Germany, the company said in the announcement of the deal. It will also increase production for clinical trials here in the United States.

"We are thrilled that BioNTech will build on its lifesaving work and support more of the high-skilled jobs that help fuel our economy," County Council President Tom Hucker said. "There is real value in locating here next to the nation's capital with nearby access to numerous federal labs, 18 federal agencies, three major airports and the nation-leading diversity that characterizes our county.”

The company said it plans to keep the employees already at the site, in addition to hiring more.

“When a global leader such as BioNTech selects Montgomery County as the U.S. location to fulfill its next generation manufacturing capabilities, it signals our growing maturation as a world immunology capital,” said Benjamin H. Wu, President & CEO of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC), in a news release. “We look forward to supporting BioNTech’s expansion plans and seeing their promising cancer therapies come to fruition.”

The deal is expected to officially close at the end of this month, the companies said.

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