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So Many Orders

Companies that make bespoke viruses for use in gene therapies are swamped with orders, leading to delays, the New York Times reports.

Modified viruses, typically disabled adenoviruses or lentiviruses, deliver the gene-editing machinery into cells, but the Times notes that most companies developing gene therapies rely on others to manufacture the needed viruses. Udit Batra, the chief executive of MilliporeSigma, tells the Times that his company and others that make viruses for drug companies are "oversubscribed, although companies like ourselves have doubled capacity to keep up with the demand."

To deal with the long lines, the Times says some gene therapy companies are getting on the waiting lists for multiple companies, while others claimed their spots years in advance. Yet others like BioMarin are now working on developing the viruses they need themselves.

The Times notes that even when they get to the front of the queue, companies can face delays due to ramping up small-scale production to larger quantities and contract negotiation. Additionally, it says that investors are now asking companies pitching them where they plan on manufacturing the virus. Researchers tell the Times that the entire process is "nerve-wracking."