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December 22, 2017

Merck agrees to manufacture viral vectors for bluebird bio

Merck has entered a commercial supply agreement with US-based bluebird bio to manufacture viral vectors for gene therapies.

Merck has entered a commercial supply agreement with US-based bluebird bio to manufacture viral vectors for gene therapies.

bluebird bio develops gene and cell therapies to treat severe genetic diseases and T-cell based immunotherapies for cancer.

The multi-year agreement involves Merck’s Life Science business sector, which will produce lentiviral vectors for bluebird bio’s products.

Viral vectors are used to deliver genes to immune cells to produce a therapeutic effect such as correction of a mutated gene.

"Viral vectors are used to deliver genes to immune cells to produce a therapeutic effect."

Merck Life Science executive board member and CEO Udit Batra said: “We look forward to collaborating with bluebird bio to bring breakthrough therapies to fight diseases.

“With 30 years’ experience in viral vector manufacturing, we remain committed to innovating with academia, hospitals and cell therapy manufacturers to accelerate access to personalised cell therapy for the patients who need it most.”

Merck’s California-based facility has been focused on gene therapy since 1997, and provides manufacturing services for BioReliance viral and gene therapy.

The facility was recently expanded from 44,000ft2 to 65,000ft2 and currently includes 16 modular viral bulk manufacturing cleanroom suites, single-use equipment and two fill / finish suites for gene therapy, viral vaccine and immunotherapy products.

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