Outsourcing: Bio Building Boom

When it comes to biomanufacturing capacity, the rich are getting richer
Apr 01, 2006
Volume 19, Issue 4

Jim Miller
The first quarter of 2006 brought a wave of announcements of new investments in biomanufacturing capacity. Interestingly, it is companies that already have the most capacity available to them that are building even more. This dynamic reflects certain characteristics of the biopharmaceutical pipeline and the high cost of being a player in the biopharmaceutical business.

The biggest investment was announced by Amgen (Thousand Oaks, CA), which will spend over $1 billion on a new facility near Cork, Ireland. The operation will include active pharmaceutical production (API) and fill and finish. It is expected to be completed in 2009 and will employ 1,100 people.

Amgen's manufacturing requirements are driven by the strong growth of Enbrel, its market-leading treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. Amgen manufactures Enbrel at its recently expanded biomanufacturing facility in West Greenwich, Rhode Island, and has a long-standing contract manufacturing relationship with Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) Biopharmaceuticals, which makes Enbrel at its biomanufacturing facility in Biberach, Germany. Amgen has also contracted Genentech to manufacture supplies of Enbrel under an arrangement that is due to end in 2006.

Amgen has previously announced manufacturing capacity expansions at its site in Juncos, Puerto Rico. The company opened a manufacturing facility for production of the API for Neupogen and Neulasta in 2005, and is building a facility for production of API for Epogen and Aranesp on the same site. In addition, as part of its acquisition of Abgenix (Fremont, CA), Amgen will gain control of a manufacturing site that has two 12,000 L bioreactor trains.


In January, the European Union approved a 48 million subsidy for Centocor's new biomanufacturing facility in Ringaskiddy, County Cork, Ireland. Work on the new site, which will cost 540 million ($650 million), actually began in September 2005, and production is expected to begin in 2010.

Like Amgen, Centocor's capacity requirements are driven by growing demand for a drug that treats autoimmune diseases, in this case Remicade. The company already has a number of manufacturing sites, including Malvern, Pennsylvania, St. Louis, Missouri, and Leiden, the Netherlands.

In March, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS, New York, NY) announced that it will build a new biomanufacturing facility in the US at a cost of $660 million. Final site selection had not yet occurred at the time of the announcement, but the competition is among sites in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and North Carolina. Construction for the new facility is expected to be completed in 2009, with first commercial production in 2011.

BMS's biomanufacturing requirements are being driven by several biopharmaceuticals in its pipeline, including Orencia, which was recently approved for rheumatoid arthritis. Like Amgen, BMS has access to biomanufacturing capacity through several contract manufacturing relationships, including deals with Lonza (Basel, Switzerland) for capacity at its Portsmouth, New Hampshire, facility and Celltrion (Incheon, South Korea), a new player on the contract manufacturing scene. It also has its own biomanufacturing facilities in Syracuse, New York.


Contract manufacturer Lonza announced several substantial capacity developments in the first quarter. In January, it announced plans to install four to six new 5,000-L cell-culture bioreactors at its site in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Lonza already has two 5,000 L bioreactors in Portsmouth, and is completing installation of its fourth 20,000 L bioreactor there.

Lonza also broke ground during the quarter on its new $250 million biomanufacturing facility in Singapore. The operation, a joint venture with Bio*One Capital, a Singapore government-affiliated investment firm, will have four 20,000 L bioreactor trains. The facility should be completed by 2009.

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