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News Release
December 20, 2017
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Karen Tiano +1 978 495 0093

MilliporeSigma Signs Commercial Supply Agreement with bluebird bio for Viral Vector Manufacturing
  • Aims to accelerate manufacturing of new treatments for broad range of serious diseases
  • Underscores MilliporeSigma as a leading contract manufacturing organization and commercial provider of viral vectors for gene therapy

Burlington, Massachusetts, December 20, 2017 — MilliporeSigma today announced that it has signed a commercial supply agreement to manufacture viral vectors for bluebird bio, Inc., of Cambridge, Massachusetts, for its use in potentially transformative gene therapies.

“We look forward to collaborating with bluebird bio to bring to market breakthrough therapies to fight diseases for which there are limited or no options,” said Udit Batra, CEO, MilliporeSigma. “With 30 years’ experience in viral vector manufacturing, we remain committed to innovating with academia, hospitals and cell therapy manufacturers to accelerate access to personalized cell therapy for the patients who need it most.”

Under the multi-year agreement, MilliporeSigma will manufacture lentiviral vectors for bluebird bio’s drug products developed to treat a variety of rare genetic diseases. bluebird bio is a clinical-stage company that develops potentially transformative gene and cell therapies for severe genetic diseases and T cell-based immunotherapies for cancer.

Gene therapy involves the delivery of genetic material into patient cells to produce a therapeutic effect such as correction of a mutated gene or retargeting of an immune cell to fight cancer. To create personalized therapy products, genes are delivered into immune cells using viral vectors like the ones manufactured by MilliporeSigma.

This contract builds upon MilliporeSigma’s deep experience in producing viral vectors for gene therapy from clinical to commercial scale. The company has been involved in gene and cell therapy manufacturing tools and services for close to three decades.

MilliporeSigma’s Carlsbad, California manufacturing facility, which provides BioReliance® viral and gene therapy manufacturing services, has been involved in the gene therapy area since 1997, near the time clinical trials for gene therapy began. In October 2017, this facility completed both a U.S. Food & Drug Administration Pre-License inspection and a European Medicines Agency Marketing Authorization inspection.

MilliporeSigma’s investment in the gene therapy space includes a recent expansion at Carlsbad to nearly double its former production capacity — from 44,000 square feet to 65,000 square feet. The site includes 16 modular viral bulk manufacturing cleanroom suites with single-use equipment and two fill/finish suites for gene therapy, viral vaccine and immunotherapy products.

The company also has viral and gene therapy manufacturing capacity and has cell-banking services in Glasgow, Scotland. It has cell-banking services in Rockville, Maryland as well, and offers BioReliance® biosafety testing globally for both clinical and commercial stage gene therapy products.

About the Life Science Business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

The Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which operates as MilliporeSigma in the U.S. and Canada, has some 21,000 employees and 59 manufacturing sites worldwide, with a portfolio of more than 300,000 products focused on scientific discovery, biomanufacturing and testing services. Udit Batra is the global chief executive officer of MilliporeSigma.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany completed its $17 billion acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich in November 2015, creating a leader in the $125 billion global life science industry.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 52,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene-editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2018, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of €14.8 billion in 66 countries.

The company holds the global rights to the name and trademark “Merck” internationally. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials. Since its founding 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to the company’s technological and scientific advances. To this day, the founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. For more information about Merck, KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, visit www.emdgroup.com.