Cell and Gene Therapy Manufacturing: COVID-19 Impact

With close to half-million infections and the economy showing signs of the 2008 financial crisis, COVID-19 has impacted several industries. Government institutes and industry players have announced various steps to deal with the ongoing situation. In this article, we will highlight the developments in the cell and gene therapy manufacturing industry amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. In addition, we will also discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the cell therapy manufacturing industry.

Recent Developments in Cell and Gene Therapy Manufacturing Market

Last week, Thermo Fisher announced its plan to open a cell and gene therapy manufacturing collaboration center in Princeton. This development was as part of a USD 475 million investment by the company in its biopharma capabilities.

In the earlier week, Univercells announced the launch of contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), Exothera. Specifically, the CDMO was launched to support cell therapy developers with process development and viral vector manufacturing

Last month, we saw an investment of over €50 million by Gamma Biosciences to push to market Univercells’ cell and gene therapy manufacturing technology. The technology has been designed to reduce the costs of viral vector production for gene therapies. Check other recent innovations in the cell therapy manufacturing market.

In addition to these, several players have also announced the development of cell therapy-based programs for the treatment of COVID-19. Below, we have added some of the tweets discussing the development of potential cell therapy-based solutions in COVID-19.

Impact of COVID-19 on Cell and Gene Therapy Manufacturing

Roots Analysis has put together a proprietary model taking into consideration several parameters to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on the cell and gene therapy manufacturing market. The parameters considered for the analysis include:

  1. The breadth of the impact
  2. Length of the impact
  3. The capability of developers (in terms of cash flow and financial well-being)
  4. Regulatory environment
  5. Attitude towards outsourcing
  6. In-house investments
  7. Adoption of novel technologies (closed automated processing platforms, novel vectors)
COVID-19 Impact on cell and gene therapy manufacturing Model

One of the key concerns already looming across the cell and gene therapy manufacturing industry is the lack of sufficient vector manufacturing capacity (check other key concerns here). The ongoing COVID-19 crisis is likely to put additional pressure on the vector manufacturers to meet the future demand for cell and gene therapies. If the vector manufacturers are unable to meet the increased demand, it is important for therapy developers to look beyond viral vectors. In fact, several players have already adopted novel vectors beyond the traditionally used AAV vectors.

It will be critical for the developers to seek clarity on the supply chain challenges. This requires close, transparent collaborations between the therapy developers and manufacturers (check this article for details on the cell therapy CDMOs)

A Rise in Demand for Supply Chain Management Solutions

Given the current ambiguity across the supply chain, we should expect more players to adopt digital solutions for the management of the cell therapy supply chain. In one of our recent reports, we identified more than 160 innovative software-enabled systems that have been developed for managing the cell and advanced therapies supply chain.

In fact, a few weeks ago, one of the leading supply chain solution providers, TrakCel announced a non-exclusive strategic partnership with Ori Biotech to achieve supply chain coordination within closed-system manufacturing.

The cell and gene therapy manufacturing market is in its initial stages. These manufacturers are still trying to find novel solutions to the challenges. The ongoing pandemic is either likely to accelerate the development of these solutions, or significantly hamper it. However, history is on the side of the therapy developers. If the players are able to get through the next 3-4 months phase, we should see a stronger and more structured industry.

To know more about the impact of COVID-19 on cell and therapy manufacturing, drop a note at rohit.kumar@rootsanalysis.com. 

You can also download the SAMPLE REPORT on cell therapies by Roots Analysis.

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