DURHAM – bluebird bio on Friday officially opened its new manufacturing facility in Durham and said it plans to add 20 workers to the current team of 50 scientists, engineers and others at the plant.

The facility will produce lentiviral vector (a “critical component” of the company’s investigational gene and cell therapies) including: bb2121 and bb21217 for the treatment of multiple myeloma and potentially LentiGlobin for the treatment of transfusion-dependent β-thalassemia (TDT) and sickle cell disease, the Massachusetts-based firm said.

“At bluebird bio, we view every aspect of our path to helping patients as both a privilege and a responsibility. This includes the expertise that we’ve poured into the construction and operation of our manufacturing facility, because it is a crucial step toward our mission of bringing a new generation of treatments to people living with severe genetic diseases and cancer,” said Nick Leschly, bluebird bio’s top exec. “Our teams in North Carolina and across the globe are working to deliver treatments that will make a big difference for a lot of patients and families. This is what drives our ambition to bring four gene therapies forward in the next few years.”

The company acquired the facility in November 2017 and has since then invested $80 million in it.

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