Pitt and ElevateBio partner to bring cell and gene therapy manufacturing to Pittsburgh

Elected officials, community members, and university and industry leaders gathered on Hazelwood Green on Thursday to celebrate a major breakthrough for the regional life sciences industry: an agreement to form a strategic partnership 30 years between Pitt and biotech company ElevateBio to accelerate the development of innovative cell and gene therapies at Pitt BioForge.

Through this agreement, ElevateBio will work with Pitt to locate one of its upcoming BaseCamp process development and good manufacturing practices facilities in Pittsburgh, continuing the drive to position Pittsburgh as a hub for life sciences.

“This announcement supports the region’s rise as a leader in cell and gene therapy and advances our vision to bring an entirely new commercial manufacturing sector to the region,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. . “The University of Pittsburgh is proud to partner with ElevateBio in this work, which will allow us to leverage lessons from the lab in new and exciting ways to benefit human health.”

“To realize our vision to transform the field of cell and gene therapy for decades to come, expanding our footprint in metropolitan areas is a key priority for us, and we are excited that the University of Pittsburgh will be home to one of our BaseCamp facilities,” said David Hallal, President and CEO of ElevateBio. “We identified Pittsburgh as an ideal location to expand our BaseCamp presence as it sits at the intersection of science, technology and talent. We are grateful for the support of the Governor and County Executive as we bring the first-of-its-kind offering we’ve built at ElevateBio BaseCamp to advance the work of the entire biopharmaceutical industry.

The announcement took place on August 25 outside the Roundhouse in Hazelwood Green – a building created to service trains delivering materials for the steel industry which now houses a coworking space for startups. Speakers included Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf sporting a blue and gold tie, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, Pennsylvania Representative Aerion Andrew Abney and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, as well as key players from Pitt and ElevateBio and d other leaders. The theme of the event: creating jobs and saving lives.

“We have outstanding emerging research at the University of Pittsburgh. However, the missing ingredient has been access to high-quality process science and manufacturing capabilities,” said Pitt, Senior Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences, Anantha Shekhar. “As we position ourselves to become the next global hub for life sciences and biotechnology, we were looking for the right partner to help us realize our vision, and ElevateBio’s expertise and reputation in therapy cell and gene made them the perfect partner to accelerate our ability to build our center of excellence in biomanufacturing.

The partnership is expected to generate over 170 full-time permanent jobs, 900 construction jobs and 360 off-site support jobs.

ElevateBio plans to lease 80,000 square feet of space to Pitt, from its first location in Waltham, Massachusetts. The installation will include gene editing, cell and induced pluripotent stem cell, vector and protein engineering capabilities, with the company investing $35 million to operate the site, including equipment and training.

ElevateBio is expected to move into the facility in 2026, and in total the partnership is expected to generate more than 170 permanent full-time jobs, 900 construction jobs and 360 off-site support jobs, as well as vital advances in life sciences.

“We are thrilled that Pitt, together with UPMC Enterprises, has brought ElevateBio to this region,” said Leslie Davis, president and CEO of UPMC. “The company’s expertise and manufacturing capabilities, combined with Pitt’s research and UPMC’s clinical excellence, are essential to delivering the life-changing therapies that people depend on at UPMC.

The Pitt BioForge Biomanufacturing Center was first announced with a $100 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to the University of Pittsburgh in November 2021, the largest grant for a single project in its 75-year history of the foundation. The proposed facility will accommodate advanced therapeutics manufacturing, currently a key bottleneck in the process of bringing lifesaving therapies to clinical trials.

“This partnership between two national life science powerhouses – the University of Pittsburgh and ElevateBio – is a significant step forward in realizing our shared vision of making Pittsburgh a national and international biomanufacturing destination,” said Sam. Reiman, director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. . “Pitt BioForge is a generational opportunity to bring extraordinary economic development benefits to our region and life-changing cell and gene therapies to patients – delivery that will be accelerated and enhanced by Pitt’s partnership with UPMC. . ElevateBio could have chosen to locate its next biomanufacturing hub anywhere in the world; the fact that they choose to come to Pittsburgh is another powerful validation of our region and the Pitt BioForge project in Hazelwood Green.

Additionally, the Commonwealth and Allegheny County provided incentive grants to ElevateBio in support of this partnership to build a biomanufacturing center and establish Pittsburgh as a premier destination for biomanufacturing.

“This announcement is a continuing check on Pittsburgh’s ability to attract new and emerging companies that provide economic opportunities in the life sciences field. The University of Pittsburgh and its medical school are a magnet for this ecosystem, and along with the quality of life and investment in innovation in this region, we continue to see companies choose Pittsburgh,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “The creation of the Innovation District and the many companies that inhabit it continue to provide great opportunities for talent to fill jobs across the ecosystem pipeline. We welcome ElevateBio to our region and look forward to all you do here as part of this great ecosystem.

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