(Photo by Chris Cooper)
A biotech manufacturing center near BWI that was opened by Paragon Gene Therapy earlier this year is setting aside dedicated space for a company to produce a treatment for spinal muscular atrophy.
Paragon parent company Catalent Biologics reached an agreement that will allow for the development and production of a treatment from AveXis called Zolgensma. Through the agreement, AveXis will have access to manufacturing space and expertise at the facility, and Paragon will also provide capabilities for additional treatments that AveXis is developing.
AveXis, which focuses on rare neurological genetic disorders, is owned by Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis via a 2018 acquisition. Zolgensma was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, which is a rare genetic disease that can lead to progressive muscle weakness and paralysis, and is a leading genetic cause of infant mortality.
“We are pleased to add additional manufacturing capacity and technical expertise through this collaboration as we rapidly scale up product production,” Andy Stober, senior VP of technical operations for AveXis, said in a statement.
Paragon, which is based at the University of Maryland BioPark in Baltimore, opened the facility near BWI in April, then the next week announced an acquisition deal with Catalent for $1.2 billion. It was among the largest exits in the region in the last decade. The facility gave Paragon capacity for commercial manufacturing that can help bring a treatment to market. Along with the acquisition, Paragon also announced it was exploring a partnership with Sarepta Therapeutics that would include space near BWI.
Paragon has also added more manufacturing space in Maryland since then through an agreement with vaccine developer Novavax to acquire space, equipment and team members.
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