ThermoGenesis Holdings, Inc., in partnership with the City of Rancho Cordova and the Greater Sacramento Economic Council (GSEC), announced that the company is building a multi-million dollar, 35,500-square-foot Center for Excellence in Cellular Manufacturing in Rancho Cordova, a suburb of Greater Sacramento, to provide contract manufacturing services for cell therapies, including the one called “CAR-T cell therapy”, which could save the lives of many cancer patients just like Emily Whitehead.
The field of CAR-T cell therapy emerged in 2012 when a young girl named Emily Whitehead, diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at 5 years old, received the first CAR-T cell therapy after all other treatment options had been exhausted. The CAR-T cell therapy saved her life, and she is now celebrating nine years cancer-free.
The work was led by Professor Carl June at the University of Pennsylvania. They then published their impressive results in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2017, reporting clinical trial data from 111 patients treated with autologous (using one’s own cells) anti-CD19 CAR-T cell therapy, where the response rate was 82%, and the complete response rate was 54%. This was remarkable when compared to the results of traditional cancer therapies.
In 2017, following the exceptional clinical outcome, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first CAR-T cell therapy, Kymriah®, using patient’s own immune cells for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. By the end of 2021, the FDA approved five CAR-T therapies for various forms of blood cancers, and globally, there are over 1,200 registered CAR-T cell related clinical trials targeting a variety of blood and solid tumors.
The CAR-T cell therapy, along with other cell-based therapies, will now be the focus at the Center for Excellence. The Center for Excellence will be an expansion of ThermoGenesis’ current operations in the region with a goal of quadrupling production efficiency and cutting cell gene therapy (CGT) drug costs in half. The project anticipates creating more than 100 high paying professional jobs and generating $500+ million in new revenue over the next 10 years.
Chris Xu, Ph.D, Chief Executive Officer of ThermoGenesis, commented, “ThermoGenesis aspires to leverage our 35 years of innovative history and knowledge to build a competitive advantage in cellular manufacturing for cell gene therapies, which we envision will become a major part of the future of medicine. We believe this new center will facilitate the development of more innovative cellular drugs, serving the needs of future drug developers and patients, and bringing more innovations into the healthcare field.”
In the past decade, CGT has become the “next pillar of medicine.” CGT mainly uses one’s own cells to produce a form of cell-based drug to fight diseases, including cancer. Although highly effective, the low manufacturing efficiency, shortage of manufacturing capacity and high production costs of these breakthrough therapies hinder their future applications and affordability. ThermoGenesis’ new facility in Greater Sacramento will help alleviate some of these barriers, increasing both production and accessibility.
“We’re excited to see ThermoGenesis deepen their roots in Greater Sacramento. Their 35-year commitment to the region is a testament to our transformation into a world-class life science community,” GSEC President & CEO Barry Broome said. “We look forward to ThermoGenesis’ continued growth and success here.”
ThermoGenesis was founded in 1986 in Rancho Cordova. The company chose to build its new manufacturing facility in the region, thanks to support the City of Rancho Cordova had provided them over the years and the availability of skilled talent in the region, including partnerships with regional education institutions facilitated by GSEC.
“The City of Rancho Cordova is proud to welcome ThermoGenesis’ new Center for Excellence in Cellular Manufacturing to our community,” said City Manager Cyrus Abhar. “ThermoGenesis has made a long-standing investment in Rancho Cordova, bringing new jobs to our city and boosting our local economy. We are excited to see how ThermoGenesis will continue to grow innovative healthcare therapies and make them more affordable, saving lives around the world from its home in Rancho Cordova.”
ThermoGenesis has been the pioneer in developing automated cell processing technologies for the cell banking, and more recently, the cell gene therapy field. Its AXP® and BioArchive® Systems have been the #1 ranked platform for the cord blood banking industry. More than 1.2 million cord blood samples have been processed with ThermoGenesis’ technology worldwide, and close to 90% of all FDA Biological License Application (BLA) approved cord blood units in the U.S. were stored in the BioArchive® Smart Cryostorage System.
Thermogenesis is the latest among a string of cell and gene therapy companies exploring expansions and relocations into the Greater Sacramento region. Fueled by world-class medical research centers like UC Davis, the upcoming $1.1 billion Aggie Square research park and just 90 miles from the San Francisco Bay Area, the region is quickly becoming a magnet for cell and gene therapy innovation.
“The advancements ThermoGenesis is making in cell and gene therapy perfectly embody First Northern’s and GSEC’s support for innovative work in the region,“ said Jeremiah Z. Smith, Senior Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer of First Northern Bank and GSEC Board Member.
About ThermoGenesis Holdings, Inc.
ThermoGenesis Holdings, Inc. develops, commercializes, and markets a range of automated technologies for CAR-T and other cell-based therapies. The Company currently markets a full suite of solutions for automated clinical biobanking, point-of-care applications, and automation for immuno-oncology, including its semi-automated, functionally closed CAR-TXpress™ platform, which streamlines the manufacturing process for the emerging CAR-T immunotherapy market. For more information about ThermoGenesis, please visit: www.thermogenesis.com.
About the Greater Sacramento Economic Council
The Greater Sacramento Economic Council is the catalyst for innovative growth strategies in the Capital Region of California. The organization spearheads community-led direction to retain, attract, grow and scale tradable sectors, develop advanced industries and create jobs and investment throughout a six-county region. Greater Sacramento represents a collaboration between local and state governments, market leaders, influencers and stakeholders, with the sole mission of driving inclusive economic growth. The Greater Sacramento region was founded on discovery, built on leadership and fueled by innovation.
About the City of Rancho Cordova
The City of Rancho Cordova incorporated on July 1, 2003, becoming the 478th city in California. Since that time, the city has grown into an emerging urban center, while retaining a small-town feel. Over 3,500 businesses employ a workforce of 65,000+, making Rancho Cordova one of the largest employment centers in the Greater Sacramento region. The city’s nearly 80,000 residents enjoy a beautiful, six-mile stretch of the American River, a burgeoning arts scene, 26 miles of bike and pedestrian trails, 70 acres of creeks and tributaries, and over 100 (mostly free) events. Whether you call Rancho Cordova an All-America City, Playful City USA or Tree City USA, the city’s neighborhoods and business districts reflect diversity and opportunity, making Rancho Cordova a community where anyone can live, work, learn and play.