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Ascend Acquires GMP Manufacturing Capacity in Alachua, Florida and Partners with Beacon Therapeutics for AAV Production

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Ascend Advanced Therapies (Ascend), a leading player in gene therapy development solutions, has recently finalized the acquisition of the CMC team and facility located in Alachua, Florida, previously owned by Beacon Therapeutics (Beacon). This strategic move equips Ascend with a fully operational good manufacturing practice (GMP) facility, along with robust process and analytical development capabilities, bolstering its expertise with additional skilled professionals. Additionally, the acquisition establishes a long-term partnership with Beacon, ensuring the continued manufacturing of its products for both clinical trials and commercial distribution. This partnership secures product supply for Beacon, allowing it to focus on advancing its clinical development efforts.

Ascend's CEO, Mike Stella, emphasized the company's dedication to innovation, stating, "Ascend was founded with a unique science and technology-driven strategy. As we continue building the most flexible adeno-associated virus (AAV) platform across serotypes on the market, we also understand the critical value of our highly experienced employees." Stella highlighted the acquisition's significance in enabling Ascend to offer comprehensive support to clients, from initial research stages through to commercialization, solidifying its position as a leading gene therapy team globally.

David Fellows, CEO of Beacon Therapeutics, expressed excitement about the strategic collaboration with Ascend, particularly in advancing their sight-saving therapies towards regulatory approval. Fellows stated, "This alignment is critical to securing GMP drug product supply for our late-stage clinical asset AGTC-501 for the treatment of X-Linked Retinitis Pigmentosa." He underscored Ascend's extensive experience in gene therapy manufacturing and their commitment to enhancing capabilities to support future pipeline programs of Beacon.

Beacon Therapeutics currently focuses on three ocular gene therapy products, utilizing AAV technology to deliver gene constructs addressing retinal disorders. These therapies aim to compensate for cellular deficiencies or intervene in pathological processes, potentially restoring vision or halting disease progression.

Located in Alachua, a prominent biotech hub in Florida, the acquired facility strengthens Ascend's global network of sites, complementing its existing locations in the San Francisco Bay Area and Munich, Germany. This strategic expansion enhances Ascend's ability to provide comprehensive support to clients at every stage of development, from early-stage research to process optimization and GMP manufacturing.



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