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Eyes on Expansion

Summer is the season for sun, sea, sand… And a raft of new and expanded manufacturing plants. May and June have seen something of an expansion craze with companies big and small announcing new investments – and biologics seem to be a key focus.

AstraZeneca says that biotech products now make up half of its pipeline and recently announced that it was investing $285-million in a new plant for filling and packaging protein therapeutics in Södertälje, Sweden. By the end of 2018, the facility is expected to supply biologic medicines for AstraZeneca and MedImmune’s clinical trial programmes, moving on to commercial products once fully operational in 2019. The company also bolstered its biologics manufacturing capabilities in the US at the end of 2014 with a $200-million project to expand its Frederick, Maryland site, which currently produces pediatric medications and investigational biologic products. But small molecules have not been entirely forgotten; in June, AstraZeneca  announced that was partnering with two Algerian companies to create a new plant for small molecules in Algeria.

Meanwhile, Alexion is planning to build its first biologics manufacturing plant outside of the US, in a four-year project with an investment of over $500 million. Few details have been revealed, but the 20,000-square meter plant will be located in Dublin, Ireland, will include four 20,000-litre production bioreactors, and is being designed to allow rapid ramp-up of production as needed. The company has been building its Irish base in recent years and has already invested in an Irish vial fill–finish plant and a supply chain facility.

In Canada, Gilead Sciences will be spending $100 million on expanding its Edmonton site. The company made the announcement at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first of two new laboratory buildings in Edmonton. The new investment will focus on building a new process tower for API manufacturing, as well as a maintenance facility and upgrades.

Also in Canada, plant-based vaccine and therapeutics maker Medicago is constructing a new plant in a $245-million project in Quebec City’s Estimauville innovation park, which will span around 44,000 sq meters and have the capacity to deliver 40-50 million doses of quadrivalent seasonal flu vaccines.

And finally, Bayer is targeting its healthcare manufacturing plant in West Java, Indonesia, for expansion with an investment of around $9.2 million; first the company is inaugurating a new warehouse, but there are also plans to increase the overall manufacturing capability. And finally, Novartis’ Sandoz division recently expanded its site in Stryków, Poland by adding a new packaging center that allows packaging processes for tablets to be carried out directly on site.

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About the Author
Stephanie Vine

Making great scientific magazines isn’t just about delivering knowledge and high quality content; it’s also about packaging these in the right words to ensure that someone is truly inspired by a topic. My passion is ensuring that our authors’ expertise is presented as a seamless and enjoyable reading experience, whether in print, in digital or on social media. I’ve spent fourteen years writing and editing features for scientific and manufacturing publications, and in making this content engaging and accessible without sacrificing its scientific integrity. There is nothing better than a magazine with great content that feels great to read.

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