New cell therapy facility at Leiden Bio Science Park
American pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb will be building a new (CAR-T) cell therapy facility in the Oegstgeest part of the Leiden Bio Science Park. The company will manufacture and develop CAR T-cell therapy for patients with blood cancer (leukaemia), for example.
American pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) and Leiden University – the owner of the land – signed a ground lease on 16 April 2021 for the site on Willem Einthovenweg where the new facility will be built. The company will not only bring knowledge development and therapies to the Leiden region but will also create an expected 500 new jobs.
The company specialises in Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell therapy or CAR T-cell therapie. This is a therapy where patients with blood cancer (leukaemia for instance) are treated with their own cells. A type of white blood cell, the T-cell, is taken from the patient’s blood, and a gene is then added that enables these T-cells to identify tumour cells. The modified T-cells are then returned to the patient, and they destroy the tumour cells in the blood. This gene threrapy makes the patient’s white blood cells ‘tumour specific’.
Treat more patients
BMS is one of the largest biopharmaceutical companies in the world. The new cell therapy facility at the Leiden Bio Science Park (LBSP) will be its fifth such facility in the world and its first European one. Its aim is to bring cell therapy closer to European patients. The facility will have the latest technology and production equipment for cell therapy development, thus enabling the company to increase its capacity for treating cancer patients.
Completion in 2024
BMS will spend the next few years building a new manufacturing and laboratory facility. At 19,000 m2, these will be the equivalent of three football pitches. The new building will be situated on Willem Einthovenstraat, opposite Avery Dennison and Galapagos. Construction will begin later this year and the building should be completed by the end of 2024.
Rector Magnificus Hester Bijl and Vice-Chairman Martijn Ridderbos from the Executive Board of Leiden University and alderman Jan Nieuwenhuis from the municipality of Oegstgeest are pleased to welcome BMS to the LBSP. Hester Bijl: ‘With its new premises close to the LUMC and our science campus, BMS will be a wonderful addition to all the innovation district has to offer in the area of Life Science & Health. I look forward to fruitful collaborations with our researchers and other parties on and around the park. This will benefit both knowledge development and our health.
Boost to jobs in the region
Martijn Ridderbos: ‘The new BMS facility is recognition of the LBSP as one of the most important, innovative business parks in the Netherlands. Alongside a longer-term knowledge boost, we also expect a boost to jobs in the region. We are really pleased, as are our partners in the region.’ Alderman Jan Nieuwenhuis from the municipality of Oegstgeest: ‘This means another important biotech company in the Oegstgeest part of the Bio Science Park, and this is thanks also to the constructive collaboration with the university. There is still space in the Oegstgeest part of the LBSP, which is a very interesting location for innovative international companies.’
Photo above: An impression of the new BMS cell therapy facility on Willem Einthovenweg.