A Santa Monica, Calif.-based biopharmaceutical company plans to open a facility where it will produce cell therapy treatments in Maryland’s Frederick County.
Kite Pharma plans to build the biologics manufacturing facility on a 20-acre site in Urbana, Md., which is located off I-270 south of Frederick.
The company, which is owned by publicly-traded Gilead, specializes in treatments for people with cancer. It is looking to expand its ability to produce treatments that are both commercially available and investigational. Cell therapy refers to a treatment in which cellular material is injected or transplanted into a patient to help fight disease. Amongst the work at the facility will be on a treatment called CAR-T therapy, which essentially retrains a patient’s white blood cells to destroy cancer cells.
“This new facility in Urbana builds on our substantial technical capabilities and rapid progress in making personalized chimeric antigen receptor T and T cell receptor cell therapies for people with cancer. As we advance our industry-leading cell therapy pipeline and seek to help a growing number of people with cancer, expanding and investing in our manufacturing capabilities is essential,” Tim Moore, executive vice president of technical operations at Kite, said in a statement.
Producing the therapies requires many complex processes and steps, and the new facility will enable the company to create for its specifications.
“With the Urbana site, we will have the opportunity to build and design the facility tailored to our own innovative processes and with state-of-the-art features that will enable us to meet the future needs for cell therapies,” Moore said.
Kite said it will add to the company’s manufacturing network in California and the Netherlands.
The Maryland Department of Commerce is providing assistance in the form of a $2 million conditional loan from the Advantage Maryland Fund and a $200,000 workforce training grant through the Partnership for Workforce Quality program. Frederick County is also providing a commercial and industrial tax credit, which is offered to new and expanding businesses in manufacturing, fabricating, and assembly.
Per the incentives, the company is required to employ a minimum of 352 employees by Dec. 2025 at the new facility, according to a department spokesperson.
“We’re excited to welcome Kite to our life science and biopharma family. We were pleased to fast-track their project and want them to know our support will continue into the future,” Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner said in a statement.