PITTSBURGH – ElevateBio, LLC (ElevateBio) and the University of Pittsburgh today announced that they have entered into a long-term strategic partnership to accelerate the development of highly innovative cell and gene therapies. Through this agreement, ElevateBio will locate one of its next BaseCamp process development and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) manufacturing facilities in Pittsburgh, fully equipped with its enabling technologies, including gene editing, induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) and cell, vector, and protein engineering capabilities. The University of Pittsburgh has long been a research powerhouse and is consistently among the top U.S. institutions in National Institutes of Health research funding.
The Richard King Mellon Foundation announced a $100 million grant to the University of Pittsburgh in November 2021 to create the Pitt BioForge Biomanufacturing Center at Hazelwood Green. The grant was the largest single-project grant in the Foundation’s 75-year history. The University of Pittsburgh and ElevateBio BaseCamp intend to locate the new technology-enabled process development and GMP manufacturing facility at Pitt BioForge at Hazelwood Green to further innovation in the Pittsburgh region. The new facility is expected to generate more than 170 permanent full-time jobs, 900 construction jobs, and 360 off-site support jobs.
“This announcement supports the region’s rise as a leader in cell and gene therapy and advances our vision of bringing an entirely new commercial manufacturing sector to the area,” says Patrick Gallagher, Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh. “The University of Pittsburgh is proud to partner with ElevateBio in this work, which will see us leveraging lessons from the lab—in new and exciting ways—for the benefit of human health.”
“To realize our vision of transforming the cell and gene therapy field for decades to come, broadening our footprint across metropolitan areas is a key priority for us, and we are thrilled that the University of Pittsburgh will be home to one of our BaseCamp facilities,” said David Hallal, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ElevateBio. “We’ve identified Pittsburgh as an ideal location to extend 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 have built at ElevateBio BaseCamp to advance the work of the entire biopharmaceutical industry.”
Pitt Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences, Dr. Anantha Shekhar, continued by saying, “We have some exceptional emerging research coming out of the University of Pittsburgh. However, the missing ingredient has been access to high-quality process science and manufacturing capabilities. As we position ourselves to become the next global hub for life sciences and biotech, we were in search of the right partner to help us realize our vision, and ElevateBio’s expertise and reputation in cell and gene therapy made them the perfect partner to accelerate our ability to build our biomanufacturing center of excellence. “
“This partnership between two national life-science powerhouses – the University of Pittsburgh and ElevateBio – is a consequential step forward in realizing our shared vision to make 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 – distribution 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 they are choosing to come to Pittsburgh is another powerful validation of our region, and the Pitt BioForge project at Hazelwood Green.“
“We are excited that Pitt, working with UPMC Enterprises, has attracted ElevateBio to this region,” said Leslie Davis, President and Chief Executive Officer of UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center). “The company’s expertise and manufacturing capabilities, combined with Pitt research and UPMC’s clinical excellence, are essential to delivering the life-changing therapies that people depend on UPMC to deliver.”
In addition, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the County of Allegheny have provided incentive grants to ElevateBio in support of this partnership to build a biomanufacturing center and establish Pittsburgh as a premier biomanufacturing destination.
“This announcement is continued verification of 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 that ecosystem and along with this region’s quality of life and investment in innovation, we continue to see businesses choosing Pittsburgh,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “The creation of the Innovation District, and the many companies that call it home, continue to provide great opportunities for talent to fill jobs across the ecosystem’s pipeline. We welcome ElevateBio to our region and look forward to all that you will do here as part of this great ecosystem.”
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About ElevateBio: ElevateBio is a technology-driven company built to power the development of transformative cell and gene therapies today and for many decades to come. The company has assembled industry-leading talent, built state-of-the-art facilities, and integrated diverse technology platforms, including gene editing, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), and protein, vector, and cellular engineering, necessary to drive innovation and commercialization of cellular and genetic medicines. In addition, BaseCamp in Waltham, MA, is a purpose-built facility offering process innovation, process sciences, and current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) manufacturing capabilities. It was designed to support diverse cell and gene therapy products, including autologous, allogeneic, and regenerative medicine cell products such as induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSC, and viral vector manufacturing capabilities.
Through BaseCamp and its enabling technologies, ElevateBio is focused on growing its collaborations with industry partners while also developing its own portfolio of cellular and genetic medicines. ElevateBio’s team of scientists, drug developers, and company builders are redefining what it means to be a technology company in the world of drug development, blurring the line between technology and healthcare.
About the University of Pittsburgh: Founded in 1787, the University of Pittsburgh is an internationally renowned leader in health sciences learning and research. A top 10 recipient of NIH funding since 1998, Pitt has repeatedly been ranked as the best public university in the Northeast, per The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education. Pitt consists of a campus in Pittsburgh—home to 16 undergraduate, graduate and professional schools — and four regional campuses located throughout Western Pennsylvania. Pitt offers nearly 500 distinct degree programs, serves more than 33,000 students, employs more than 14,000 faculty and staff, and awards 9,000 degrees systemwide.
For more information, please visit www.pitt.edu.
About the Richard King Mellon Foundation: Founded in 1947, the Richard King Mellon Foundation is the largest foundation in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and one of the 50 largest in the world. The Foundation’s 2021 year-end net assets were $3.4 billion, and its Trustees in 2021 disbursed $152 million in grants and Program-Related Investments. The Foundation focuses its funding on six primary program areas, delineated in its 2021-2030 Strategic Plan.