Kite Pharma construction Urbana

Construction continues Monday on the building that Kite Pharma, a California-based cancer research company, is erecting on land that it bought in November 2018. The facility will have 62,000 square feet of office space and 217,000 square feet of manufacturing, plant, and shipping space. The new location is expected to create hundreds of jobs on a 20-acre site in the Urbana Corporate Center.

Construction remains on track for a 2021 commercial production date at a new biomedical center in Urbana.

Construction for Kite Pharma, a subsidiary of Gilead Sciences, is on track for the 279,000-square-foot facility that will increase the manufacturing capabilities of next-generation oncology treatments, said Shant Salakian, head of Kite public affairs.

Kite bought the 20-acre Urbana site in November for $7.5 million, according to land records. Kite received a $2 million conditional loan, a $200,000 training grant and a host of tax credits from the state and county. Under the loan conditions, the company must employ at least 352 people at the site by December. But plans have anticipated between 400 and 800 jobs at the site.

Gilead Sciences separated Kite into its own business unit in May to give Kite more autonomy to manufacture its blockbuster (CAR)-T cell cancer drug Yescarta.

Yescarta, one of the drugs that will be manufactured at the new facility, brought in $120 million in revenue for the company in the second quarter ending July 31, according to financial statements for the company. The revenue beat industry estimates of $114.07 million and is up from $68 million at this time in 2018.

The Urbana site is one of several expansions Kite has undergone to increase its manufacturing capacity, including a 67,000-square-foot site in Oceanside, California, and a 117,000-square-foot center in the Netherlands.

Follow Allen Etzler on Twitter: @AllenWEtzler.

Allen Etzler is a city editor at the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at

(4) comments


Maybe the mayor should look at hiring this company to finish the bridge on Monocacy Blvd. These guys seem to be able to get something done.


A kite farm? Cool bees!


Next to a wind farm...


[lol] jw. That is a kids dream. Even some adults as well.

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