Cognate will add two separate facilities, a distribution center to help manage global supply chain needs, and a third site focused on commercial manufacturing capabilities, all totaling nearly 250,000 square feet of space.
Construction has already begun on Cognate's GMP Distribution Center and is expected to finalize in early 2021. Build out of the commercial manufacturing location will begin in 2021 with the goal of coming online as quickly as possible. The expansion activities will nearly double the capacity at Cognate's existing Global Manufacturing Facility & Headquarters, located only minutes from Memphis International Airport.
"Our expansion plans in cell and gene therapy, in the US and Europe, and the close proximity to global shipping and logistics hubs, provide Cognate BioServices, together with Cobra Biologics, a unique competitive advantage not available to other CDMOs. This is critically important to our clients around the world who are commercializing cell and gene therapies that require rapid turn around and often utilize real-time shipping and handling," said J. Kelly Ganjei, Chairman & CEO of Cognate. "We are committed to rapidly expanding our global reach and capacity, allowing us to further our mission of developing, manufacturing and delivering leading-edge living therapeutics of the highest quality to patients around the globe."
Cognate initially outlined these U.S. expansion plans in connection with its application for a 15-year Expansion PILOT (payment-in-lieu-of-taxes) approval from the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County.
"As our economy continues to recover in the midst of a pandemic, Cognate BioServices' decision to expand in Memphis is great news for our state and the citizens of West Tennessee," Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said. "The creation of more than 550 high-quality jobs means new opportunities for area residents, and I appreciate Cognate BioServices for its continued investment and job creation in Tennessee."
In addition, Cobra Biologics, the gene therapy division of the Cognate BioServices' group, is undertaking a multi-phase augmentation of its plasmid DNA services as a continuation of its Gene Therapy services' expansion project for viral vectors and plasmid DNA. This includes a four-fold increase in HQ (High Quality) DNA manufacturing capacity alongside new clinical and commercial GMP DNA facilities at its European facilities.
"Over the past three years, healthcare and life sciences companies have invested nearly $200 million in our state," said Bob Rolfe, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. "Growth in this sector results in high-wage, high-growth job opportunities for Tennesseans, and we thank Cognate BioServices for adding hundreds of new jobs in Memphis."
After its acquisition of Cobra Biologics in January 2020, Cognate has positioned itself as a global provider of end-to-end capabilities in the development and manufacturing of cell & gene therapy products. This expansion is in direct response to the great demand of commercial capacity within the biologics industry.