CULVER CITY, Calif.– ImmunityBio, Inc. (NASDAQ: IBRX), a clinical-stage immunotherapy company (“ImmunityBio”), today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a leasehold interest in 409,000 square feet of ISO Class 5 pharmaceutical manufacturing space in western New York (the “Dunkirk Facility”), and certain related assets, from global pharmaceutical company Athenex, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATNX) (“Athenex”). The agreement will provide ImmunityBio with a state-of-the-art biotech production facility that will substantially expand and diversify ImmunityBio’s existing manufacturing capacity in the U.S., South Africa, and Botswana through its strategic collaborators.
The full-scale manufacturing facility includes clean rooms for upstream and downstream manufacturing activities, as well as fill and finish and large-scale lyophilization capabilities. ImmunityBio believes that the acquisition of the newly constructed facility, located in Dunkirk, New York (Chautauqua County), will fast track the company’s timeline for building production capacity at a significant scale. ImmunityBio plans to further invest in the plant by adding state-of-the-art biological manufacturing equipment and transferring technology from California to this large-scale production plant, and anticipates it will begin producing COVID vaccine drug substance in Q4 2022.
“With our acquisition of the interest in the Dunkirk Facility, ImmunityBio will have access to nearly a million square feet of manufacturing and R&D space in the U.S., South Africa and Botswana, giving us ample capacity to support the acceleration of our manufacturing plans for our immunotherapy and vaccine product candidates,” said Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., Founder, Executive Chairman and Global Chief Scientific and Medical Officer at ImmunityBio. “The investment we are making here provides us with a facility that has both an exceptionally sophisticated design as well as the latest equipment. Purchasing the rights to this plant gives us immense scale at a lower investment than building one from ground up.”
This is the latest expansion of ImmunityBio’s GMP manufacturing capacity over the last five years, part of its overall growth plans in collaboration with its strategic partners designed to accelerate the company’s ability to develop, prove, and bring to market its key products and therapies in competitive and regulated markets.
New York State (“the State”) has made significant investments in the 409,000 square foot biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Dunkirk. The state-of-the-art plant will enable ImmunityBio to fast track establishing operations and help to accelerate converting medical research into pharmaceutical products, creating sustainable manufacturing jobs in the region. As part of purchasing the leasehold interest, ImmunityBio would assume the investment and employment commitments of Athenex pursuant to its agreements with the State.
In addition, ImmunityBio will provide contract manufacturing capacity at the Dunkirk Facility to Athenex (or one of its affiliates) for its 503B formulation program.
“We are pleased to announce the agreement to sell our leasehold for the Dunkirk facility, and look forward to continuing our strong relationship with the team at Dunkirk as a contract manufacturing partner,” said Jeffrey Yordon, President and Chief Operating Officer for Athenex Pharmaceutical Division. “Athenex Pharma Solutions (APS) compounds products for hospitals and supplies many products that are in short supply in the U.S. Our principal compounding location is in Clarence, New York and we are at full capacity at that location. We are excited to dramatically expand our production capabilities at this location.”
ImmunityBio looks forward to becoming part of the local community and providing high-quality jobs for workers in and around Dunkirk.
“We are thrilled ImmunityBio has selected Dunkirk for its largest manufacturing facility. This will create many local jobs and boost the economy at a regional level,” said Wilfred Rosas, Mayor of the City of Dunkirk. “We have a trained workforce here, along with access to land, air and water transport on Lake Erie. We are eagerly anticipating the opening of the plant and for Dunkirk to help ImmunityBio deliver its life-saving therapies and vaccines to people all over the world.”
The Dunkirk Facility transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including obtaining consent of certain 3rd party organizations and a lender of Athenex.