RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – California gene therapy innovator Adverum Biotechnologies announced plans today to invest $83 million to establish a manufacturing site in Durham that will employ 202 people at an average salary of $93,762 when fully operational.
It’s the latest in a string of cell- and gene-therapy companies drawn to the Triangle for its trained workforce, academic prowess and attractive business, social and meteorological climate.
The publicly held company, (Nasdaq: ADVM), is a clinical-stage gene therapy company targeting unmet medical needs in serious ocular and rare diseases. Adverum’s lead product candidate, ADVM-022, is a one-time injection into the eye to treat conditions such as wet age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema.
Adverum, based in Redwood City, Calif., has some 114 employees. Led by CEO Laurent Fischer, M.D., they are developing gene therapies for sustained expression of therapeutic proteins. It describes its core capabilities include clinical development, novel vector discovery, and in-house manufacturing expertise, specifically in scalable process development, assay development, and current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) quality control.
One of the leaders on the project from Adverum is Chief Technology Officer Angela Thedinga, who has strong North Carolina ties and understands what the state has to offer Adverum. Thedinga earned a Master of Public Health degree in 2015 from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and concurrently worked for five years at Novartis Vaccines in Holly Springs, before that facility was sold to Seqirus. She also worked at AveXis before joining Adverum. AveXis established a gene therapy manufacturing site in Durham in 2018, which is now Novartis Gene Therapies. Adverum was also considering California and Massachusetts for locating the project that ultimately came to North Carolina.
“Adverum Biotechnologies is a natural fit for North Carolina’s growing cell- and gene-therapy ecosystem,” said Bill Bullock, senior vice president for economic development and statewide operations at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, who helped support the Adverum selection of North Carolina for this project.
“Adverum leaders and shareholders are invested in the long-term commitments required to bring great ideas to the marketplace, and recognize that North Carolina has the same resolve, with workforce preparation, business acumen and a unique environment of collaboration. NCBiotech is honored to have been able to contribute to the partnership that brings Adverum here.”
The state’s Economic Investment Committee met this morning and approved some $4 million in a Job Development Investment Grant to support the project.
(C) N.C. Biotech Center