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November 28, 2018

Mustang Bio completes Worcester lab

Photo | Courtesy Mustang Bio's building in Worcester.
Photo/Grant Welker Manny Litchman, the Mustang Bio CEO, at an event in June to mark the opening of the company's Worcester space.

Mustang Bio, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company working on technology that can help fight cancer, has completed construction of its Worcester laboratories.

The New York-based company opened 14,000 square feet of space in a building at the UMass Medicine Science Park in June, and now has completed a total of 27,000 square feet including labs for cell therapy manufacturing.

Mustang Bio hoped to begin creating personalized immunotherapy in the labs before the end of the year using a process called chimeric antigen receptor engineered T-cell, or CAR-T, technology.

The labs will be used to create new T cells to help cancer patients. Patients will send blood to the facility, which will engineer millions of new T cells that are sent back to the patient and infused into their blood stream.

The T cells help fight a tumor in the same way that a person's immune system helps fight off a fever, Mustang Bio officials said. CAR-T technology is used in areas such as glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer, and acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

Manuel Litchman, the president and chief executive officer of Mustang Bio, said in a statement Wednesday the opening of the cell therapy manufacturing facility is a significant milestone for the company because it allows it to process personalized cell therapies.

The Mustang Bio labs were built by Hodess Cleanroom Construction of North Attleborough and DPS Group, an engineering company with offices worldwide including in Boston, whose office provided architectural and engineering services.

Knut Niss, Mustang Bio's chief technology officer, said the company was attracted to Worcester because of its its available infrastructure with the science park and affordability compared to areas such as Boston or Cambridge. The location at the UMass Medicine Science Park puts it within walking distance of AbbVie's sprawling pharmaceutical facility and the planned location of a $60-million drug manufacturing facility for the Chinese company WuXi Biologics.

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