(Bloomberg) -- Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. is opening a new center dedicated to bringing emerging cell and gene therapies to patients with complex, chronic conditions like cancer, cystic fibrosis and Crohn’s disease.

The 18,000-square-foot facility in Pittsburgh will act as a conduit for drug manufacturers, treatment centers and insurance companies, Walgreens said in a release Thursday. Manufacturers will send the treatments to the facility, and Walgreens will carry out all the necessary checks and verifications to ensure the right patient gets the correct drug.

This white-glove service is essential for patients in need of cell and gene therapies, which are often costly and require one administration. Walgreens is betting that it will be attractive to drugmakers as well because of the center’s lack of affiliation with a pharmacy benefit manager, giving them the freedom to work with all customers.

The move comes as Walgreens has been finding ways to increase cash flow as part of a broader strategy to invest more money into its pharmacy and health-care businesses. Chief Executive Officer Tim Wentworth has taken measures to set the drugstore chain on a path to growth, slashing the dividend almost in half and conducting a strategic review of the business.

While there is just a handful of cell and gene therapies approved by US regulators, it’s a growing market that Walgreens is keen to enter. 

“This is another string to our bow as far as all the different solutions and services that we have in our offerings for Pharma,” said Patrick Lupo, Walgreens’ vice president of pharmacy trade and specialty. “If this is where the R&D is going, we need to make sure that we’re front and center as this market begins to shape and take hold,” he said.

The drugstore chain also announced that it will consolidate the company’s specialty pharmacy assets under a newly created unit. The total revenue of Walgreens’ specialty assets is approximately $24 billion, the company said in a statement Thursday.

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