Cellares’ $255M investment in Somerset County expected to create 350 local jobs

Cellares, a cell therapy manufacturing company that announced a $255 million Series C fundraise to complete and launch its new, highly automated facility in Somerset County last year, is ready to open its state-of-the-art location on Monday.

Cellares plans to host local dignitaries for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday at 95 Corporate Drive in Bridgewater, the building formerly occupied by Pfizer, to celebrate its forthcoming contributions to the local economy and support for cell therapy patients in need.

The 118,000-square-foot manufacturing site is expected to create up to 350 local jobs. The new location is described by the firm as a “Smart Factory” and, once complete, will be the second such facility operated by the world’s first integrated development and manufacturing organization, or IDMO, dedicated to clinical and industrial-scale cell therapy manufacturing.

“We’re excited to welcome Cellares to the life sciences hub of New Jersey,” Somerset County Commissioner Director Shanel Robinson said. “These are the kinds of businesses that our economic development team is committed to bringing to Somerset County.”

“The opening of this facility marks a tremendous milestone towards Cellares’ mission of accelerating access to life-saving cell therapies to meet total global patient demand,” John Tomtishen, senior vice president and general manager of the Bridgewater IDMO Smart Factory, said. “We look forward to partnering with the state and local community to create 350 job opportunities for highly talented individuals as we bring the facility online to manufacture tens of thousands of cell therapy drug products per year.”

The facility will seamlessly integrate “advanced robotics, purpose-built technology and interconnected software” that “will be capable of producing 40,000 cell therapy batches per year,” which is an order of magnitude greater than what is currently possible via conventional contract manufacturing and development organizations, or CDMOs, operating out of comparably sized facilities. This will ultimately enable developers to effectively scale up manufacturing so no patient on the waitlist dies while waiting for a life-saving cell therapy.

“Not only does Cellares join a thriving life sciences industry here, but they reinforce the fact that many of the cures needed by the world come from Somerset County,” Jessica Paolini, manager of economic development for Somerset County, said. “We are investing in infrastructure critical to the growth and retention of the life sciences, including a recent $3 million investment towards a new training program at Raritan Valley Community College, which will produce the talent needed by cell and gene therapy companies like Cellares.”

To date, the Series C total raised by the California headquartered firm is almost $355 million — led by Koch Disruptive Technologies with Bristol Myers Squibb, DFJ Growth, Willett Advisors and existing investors Eclipse, Decheng Capital and 8VC also contributing.