UK-based biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is set to invest $300m in a new cell therapy manufacturing facility in Rockville, Maryland, to expand its manufacturing footprint in the US.

The company said the investment will advance the discovery and development of its life-saving cell therapy platforms for critical cancer trials and supply future commercial cell therapies in the US.

The new facility will create more than 150 highly skilled jobs to initially focus on manufacturing T-cell therapies to enable clinical trials to be conducted around the world.

It represents the British drugmaker’s latest investment in cell therapy after collaborations with Quell Therapeutics, AbelZeta, Cellectis, and the acquisition of Neogene Therapeutics.

The focus of the Rockville manufacturing site can be expanded to support other disease areas.

AstraZeneca global operations and IT and chief sustainability officer executive vice president Pam Cheng said: “We are incredibly excited that more than 150 new highly skilled jobs are being created to bring our scientific work and therapies to clinical trials which could transform the lives of patients around the world.

“This new $300 million investment will accelerate our ambition to make next-generation cell therapy a reality, ensuring that we are ready to scale and meet the demands of patients.”

The new Rockville facility is located less than five miles (8km) from one of AstraZeneca’s five global R&D centres and lies within the expanding life sciences corridor in Maryland.

Located close to several universities, the life sciences ecosystem is said to provide an attractive environment for recruiting new and experienced talent.

The new Rockville facility will join AstraZeneca’s global manufacturing and supply network of nearly 30 manufacturing and supply sites in 16 countries.

The company’s US manufacturing sites focus on the production of small molecules and biologics, harnessing leading pharmaceutical technology and development.

Its US manufacturing sites collectively employ more than 2,600 full-time employees and deliver more than 9 billion doses of medicines each year, said the British biopharmaceutical firm.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore said: “AstraZeneca and the State of Maryland share a deep commitment to innovation. It makes us the perfect pairing for this next-generation cell therapy facility.

“This significant investment in our life sciences sector will help maintain Maryland’s leadership in the industry and sharpen our competitive edge. We are deeply grateful for AstraZeneca’s partnership and continued commitment to our state.”