Lyell Immunopharma announced this week that it has completed construction of a $65 million, 70,000-square-foot LyFE Manufacturing Center, which the company will use to support clinical trials and meet cell therapy manufacturing needs.
The new center, located in the Canyon Park complex in Bothell, Washington, represents “crucial infrastructure” to support Lyell’s growing research and development requirements, Lyell’s Chief Technical Operations Officer Stephen Hill said in a statement.
“Manufacturing is integral to the actual design and performance of new cell therapies, so we have made large investments to build leading edge capabilities in this area,” Hill said. “LyFE is a paperless facility that has digital manufacturing integrated into the operation. We believe the ability to capture and analyze data in real time will ultimately lead to better and safer cell therapies for patients.”
Lyell, an immuno-oncology pharmaceutical company, was founded in 2018. The company works to reprogram T cells, a lymphocyte that actively participates in the immune response, to develop potentially curative treatments for solid tumors. The company combines proprietary ex vivo genetic and epigenetic reprogramming technologies to approach barriers with T cell receptors, chimeric antigen receptors and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes.
In the second half of 2020, Lyell announced a string of U.S.-based research and clinical development partnerships. Lyell entered into a research partnership with Orca Bio in September 2020, a collaboration that was designed to jointly identify next-generation T cell therapies for solid tumors with the use of Orca Bio’s precision purification T cell technologies.
And in June 2020, Lyell entered into a research and clinical development partnership with PACT Pharma.
“By combining efforts in this way, PACT and Lyell are leveraging the best technologies on both sides of the T cell specificity-functionality equation,” said Lyell’s previous Chief Executive Officer Rick Klausner, M.D., at the time of the announcement. “More than a technological partnership, this is an opportunity to leverage decades of expertise from some of the field’s best minds, which is very exciting to all of us.”
Around the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eureka Therapeutics completed a $45 million Series E financing and entered into a strategic collaboration with Lyell. The strategic partnership is targeted to develop treatments against several undisclosed solid tumors.
The company’s new facility in Washington state integrates “advanced data and analytics approaches that enable a completely digital manufacturing process,” the company stated. This manufacturing process “includes real-time data feedback and batch monitoring, as well as analytical capabilities that enable artificial intelligence and machine learning applications to enable faster process improvements.”
Amazon Web Services (AWS) was used to support the LyFE Manufacturing Center’s digital manufacturing capabilities. Lyell decided to run its entire cloud infrastructure on AWS back in May 2020 and also selected the Amazon service for standard machine learning workloads.
According to the company, the new facility represents one of the first cell therapy manufacturing centers to see benefit from AWS’s cloud computing, Internet of Things and advanced analytics services.
“History in cell therapy suggests that cell therapies are safer and more effective when manufacturing systems can create a more consistent product, in terms of both cellular composition and functional profile,” said Lyell’s current Chief Executive Officer Liz Homans. “The ability to fine tune our manufacturing and process development to produce the most effective cancer-fighting cells is what this center is all about.”