WuXi Advanced Therapies – All in the Genes
WuXi Advanced Therapies is promoting ground-breaking cell and gene therapy research and product development.
WuXi Advanced Therapies is the advanced therapies business unit of WuXi AppTec, with a globally integrated, full value chain operational model working to serve clients in the cell and gene therapy sectors. With four sites on three continents, WuXi Advanced Therapies has a presence in the US, China, and the UK, operating as a Contract Testing, Development and Manufacturing Organization (CTDMO).
The company serves as an innovator, with full in-house development and manufacturing capabilities.
Its goal is to solve today’s commercialisation challenges by leveraging over 30 years of experience and expertise to deliver the biopharmaceuticals of tomorrow.
“We have the entire critical value chain needed by the gene therapy customer, and we can do this globally from China to the USA and UK,” explains Dr David Chang, CEO of WuXi Advanced Therapies. “More importantly, we can deliver the technological and scientific excellence necessary for testing, development, and manufacturing. We are a powerhouse of innovation, carrying out fundamental research for the gene therapy sector.”
What makes WuXi Advanced Therapies such a powerful value proposition is that this research is backed up by the development of a next-generation transformational manufacturing platform.
“You need technological, scientific and manufacturing capabilities,” Chang insists. “Capabilities our globally integrated model can provide.”
The Most Crucial Asset
While WuXi Advanced Therapies’ capabilities are undeniable, and demand is high, the company ultimately relies on the expertise and skills of its staff.
“Demand has been astronomical,” Chang tells us.
Investing in and taking care of its workforce is WuXi Advanced Therapies’ number one priority, as Chang explains.
“This is our most important asset,” he says. “We’re not just offering competitive compensation but opportunities to come here and learn, to structure a career. To develop and engage employees we recently went through a cultural transformation to ensure our company values are fully embedded within our company culture. We are offering a customer-first, but employee-centric, approach.”
Employees at WuXi Advanced Therapies appreciate how much they are valued, but being part of the company is also an opportunity to see their career grow alongside a rapidly growing company.
“The company’s success translates into their success financially and career-wise,” Chang says. “We maintain a people development programme for all the employees we hire, with very extensive onboarding training. We alternate the employee assignment periodically to expose them to learning and new things. This way we can recruit, retain, and develop our employees, engaging them throughout their career.”
Translating Insight into Innovations
As well as ensuring a steady pipeline of new and developing talent, WuXi Advanced Therapies is at the forefront of therapy innovation & development.
“The entire gene therapy industry is ever-evolving in the therapeutic sector, and we need the technology to match those evolving modalities,” Chang says. “We’re constantly working to stay ahead of the latest developments, such as regenerating organs and tissues. We need to not just be up to date on research but translate that research into development.”
It is an ongoing challenge, but one that WuXi Advanced Therapies is more than capable of meeting.
“We build enabling technology and know-how ahead of the market. We’re working closely with our collaborators and working together with regulators to help our customers manage their research through the translational stage from research to development,” Chang explains.
Indeed, the firm recently announced a major collaboration that could lead to far-reaching developments.
“We announced a collaboration the A*Star Bioprocessing Technology Institute, a premium research institute in Singapore” Chang says. “This is the first step of a planned expansion into South East Asia, and focusses on collaboration with researchers in Singapore and other South Asian countries, incubating and developing early-stage companies and research.”
The partnership will bring WuXi Advanced Therapies’ proprietary Tetracycline-Enabled Self-Silencing Adenovirus (or TESSA™) technology to the Asia-Pacific region. It will foster scientific innovation in cell and gene therapy while establishing a joint professional development programme that will train and develop the next generation of scientists and engineers in GMP manufacturing for the cell and gene therapy industry.
WuXi Advanced Therapies will supply A*Star with the materials, equipment, funding, and training necessary to continue the development and commercialisation of TESSA™ technology in Singapore.
As well as supporting early-stage research and start-up companies, WuXi Advanced Therapies is also heavily involved in supporting the communities it works alongside.
“We are engaged in quite extensive community support projects. We engage the local college to provide in-school training, with some of their top students coming to join our company right after finishing school,” Chang says. “We know some of the schools very well and have developed packages for the local elementary and junior high schools. We are also participating in local charities, providing support and donations, joining forces with our employees to donate food to underprivileged society.”
Looking to the future, WuXi Advanced Therapies is a company with big ambitions.
“Our key differentiator is our technological and scientific know-how. We can offer manufacturing technology and research capabilities, translating discoveries from the laboratory to the clinic and commercialisation,” explains Chang. “We want to be the most desired service provider for gene therapy customers.”
For Chang, this is not just about being a market leader, however. It is about democratising the benefits of these scientific advances.
“Gene therapy has tremendous potential and medical benefits, but the high cost of goods prohibits access for the wider population,” Chang points out. “Our vision is for our technology to enable a significant reduction in costs for life-changing therapies.”