MassBiologics, Voyager Therapeutics announce collaboration for viral vector manufacturing

New MassBiologics SouthCoast facility could launch ‘a new generation of medicines’

By Mark L. Shelton

UMass Medical School Communications

December 15, 2014
  MassBiologics, Voyager Therapeutics, viral vector development, UMass Medical School, MassBiologics Southcoast, UMMS
  The collaboration activities will take place in the new MassBiologics SouthCoast Vector Manufacturing Center located in Fall River.

MassBiologics of UMass Medical School and Voyager Therapeutics, a gene therapy company developing life-changing treatments for fatal and debilitating diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), have announced a strategic collaboration. MassBiologics and Voyager will establish scalable processes for manufacturing recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vector products using current good manufacturing practices.

The collaboration will combine Voyager’s rAAV production technology platform with the manufacturing expertise and infrastructure of MassBiologics. Scientists from Voyager and MassBiologics will work together to establish Voyager’s proprietary third generation baculovirus/Sf9 process for the production of rAAV vectors. The process, invented by Robert Kotin, PhD, Voyager’s vice president of production, has been shown to produce high quality rAAV vectors at commercial scale with high efficiency.

“This unique collaboration enables Voyager to work closely with MassBiologics’ personnel, reducing the time required to transfer methods, set-up manufacturing and release product for clinical use,” said Dr. Kotin.

“A renaissance is underway in the field of gene therapy, as its long-held promise is fulfilled,” said Terence R. Flotte, MD, executive deputy chancellor, dean of the school of medicine and the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor in Medical Education at UMMS. “Voyager is poised to be a key player in bringing the power of this technology to patients suffering from tragic neurologic diseases.”

The collaboration activities will take place in the new MassBiologics SouthCoast Vector Manufacturing Center located in Fall River.

“We look forward to collaborating with MassBiologics at its new vector manufacturing center in Fall River, a facility that aims to manufacture a new generation of medicines,” said Steven Paul, MD, CEO of Voyager. “High quality, scalable production is vital for the long-term success of Voyager’s rAAV therapeutic programs for patients, and it is a privilege to work with the leading biologics experts at MassBiologics.”

“Viral vectors like rAAV offer us a new way to think about delivering life-saving and life-changing medicines to people,” said Mark S. Klempner, MD, executive vice chancellor for MassBiologics. “We can deliver a gene that goes into the body so that an individual’s own cells produce the medicine. MassBiologics is proud to have the only contract manufacturing facility in Massachusetts with the capacity to manufacture at scale viral vectors to the quality standards required for human use.”

Media coverage:
Boston Business Journal—Dec. 12, 2014: Gene therapy startup Voyager announces manufacturing partnership with MassBiologics

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