Biotech Firm to Build Production Facility at Airport

Krystal Biotech breaks ground on 100,000-square foot ‘global resource’ at PIT

By Matt Neistei

Published January 27, 2020

Read Time: 2 mins


Pittsburgh International Airport welcomed another high-tech neighbor on Friday.

Krystal Biotech, a pharmaceutical company based on Pittsburgh’s South Side, held a ceremonial groundbreaking at a 10-acre site on the north end of airport property that will eventually house a 100,000-square-foot production facility, dubbed “Astra,” and create 75 new jobs once it opens.

Founded in 2016, Krystal has developed a proprietary gene therapy platform for patients suffering from rare debilitating skin disorders.

“This facility will be a global resource for production of gene therapies with the potential to bring new treatments to rare disease patients around the world,” said Chairman and CEO Krish Krishnan.

Krystal Biotech Chairman and CEO Krish Krishnan discusses the company’s new production facility at a groundbreaking ceremony on Jan. 24. (Photo by Beth Hollerich)

The company currently operates a 4,500-square-foot manufacturing facility near its headquarters, but the airport site provides new opportunities for growth, Krishnan said.

The new tenant becomes the latest business to sink roots into the 8,800-acre airport property outside Pittsburgh, along with Michael Baker International, Thermo Fisher and others.

Adding Krystal is a big win, said Eric Sprys, chief commercial officer for the Allegheny County Airport Authority, which owns the land.

“The authority is very focused on innovative projects right now, as evidenced by Neighborhood 91, and a cutting-edge gene therapy company fits right in with what we’re doing.”

Neighborhood 91, unveiled in November, is the first development in the world to condense and connect all components of the advanced manufacturing/3D printing supply chain into one production ecosystem. Neighborhood 91 is located in the Pittsburgh Airport Innovation Campus and gas recycler Arencibia is its first tenant.

The gene therapy market is already valued at more than $1 billion and is expected to grow by nearly $9 billion by 2025, according to advisory firm BIS Research.

Krystal will enter a 15-year lease on that building with development firm Al. Neyer LLC, which leases the parcel from the airport authority.

Officials expect construction on the Krystal site near Dick’s Sporting Goods’ global headquarters to begin in March and be completed by November.

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