A Fargo company which started from research on the NDSU campus has announced a major expansion.
Aldevron is a biotech firm. It currently employs 300 people. It will be building three new buildings at its Fargo campus, adding another 189,000 square feet of space, to support the growing field of genetic medicine. When complete, Aldevron will employ more than 1000 people.
The company produces synthetic nucleic acids, and supports gene editing, gene therapy and cell therapy applications.
Aldevron president Michelle Berg said right now, the output from the manufacturing is focused on rare diseases.
"Most who are affected by the around 7000 rare diseases have no option, no standard of care even," Berg said. "The potential and the promise of gene therapy, cellular therapy holds is phenomenal.
Berg said the patients are waiting for the science to translate into medicine. And she said this will expand beyond rare diseases.
"The impact right now is just at the very tip," Berg said. "As the years go on, we'll see a lot more of these therapies coming to the mainstream. This is a very exciting time."
Aldevron chief operating officer Henry Hebel said the demand for biologics is growing. Hebel said Aldevron’s customers are concerned about the quality, but also the timeliness of getting the products to the clinic.
"This is the first time in the history of medicine that we're talking about curing diseases, not just treating diseases," Hebel said. "We take it very seriously and very personally to get these products to the clinic as quickly as possible, because patients are waiting."
Ground for the new buildings will be broken in August – and the plan is to have them up and running by 2021.