sy Kite Pharma construction 2

Workers build a large wall on the exterior of the Kite Pharma manufacturing center under construction in Urbana.

Commercial production at a pharmaceutical company in Urbana will likely start in 2022.

Kite Pharma, a subsidiary of Gilead Sciences, is constructing the new 279,000-square-foot plant in Urbana, after purchasing the property in November 2018.

The California-based research company bought the 20-acre Urbana site on Bennett Creek Boulevard for $7.5 million, according to land records.

The new site will likely be among Kite’s producers of chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR T) therapies, including Yescarta, which is Kite Pharma’s commercially available CAR T therapy, company spokesman Shant Salakian said in an email. Commercial production will likely start at the plant in 2022 rather than 2021 due to building enhancements, he said.

Plans for the site include hiring between 400 and 800 people, The News-Post reported in August.

“As we advance our industry-leading cell therapy pipeline, expanding and investing in our manufacturing capabilities is also essential to ensuring we are able to meet the needs of people with cancer now and in the future,” Salakian said in the email.

In addition to the Urbana site, Kite also has plants in California and the Netherlands that will be part of its commercial manufacturing network, Salakian said. The locations will help the company with its manufacturing capacity and turnaround time.

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Heather Mongilio is the health and Fort Detrick reporter for the Frederick News-Post. She can be reached at

(2) comments


Does it surprise anyone that now that a corporation has been given breaks by the government, their plans have changed and now it will be longer before Frederick will get extra revenue to pay for the breaks they gave?


Specifies production timeline, not completion of the building. As soon as building is completed they will be adding employees (actually already have been hiring) and the property will be reassessed for gains in real estate tax base. No surprises so far.

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