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Randi Hernandez was science editor at BioPharm International from September 2014 to May 2017.
According to AstraZeneca, the purchase of the biologics bulk plant will double the company's biologics manufacturing capacity in the US.
In preparation for a burgeoning biologics pipeline, AstraZeneca announced on Sept. 11, 2015 that it will purchase Amgen’s Boulder, CO manufacturing facility. According to Pam Cheng, executive vice-president, operations and information technology at AstraZeneca, the “facility will support the progression of biotech drug candidates” and will give AstraZeneca and its biologics research arm MedImmune “the flexibility and capacity” to meet the needs of its expanding biologics portfolio.
The Colorado plant is the latest development in AstraZeneca’s long-term plan to secure manufacturing capacity among various different locations. Biologics currently make up half of AstraZeneca’s current pipeline, according to the company, and many of its recent expansion efforts have been focused on supporting this pipeline. In May 2015, AstraZeneca expanded its overall biologics capacity through the $285-million purchase of a facility in Södertälje, Sweden. Prior to that, in November 2014, the company announced plans to invest approximately $200 million in its Frederick, MD plant for the production of investigational biologic medications, with a special focus on that plant’s cell culture operations.
The drugs that may be manufactured within the new plants could include brodalumab, AstraZeneca and Valeant’s investigational product for the treatment of psoriasis, and many of AstraZeneca’s investigational immune-oncology agents that it has in development, such as durvalumab (MEDI4736), an anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody for the treatment of patients with non-small cell lung cancer. AstraZeneca is partnering with Inovio Pharmaceuticals-a biotechnology company developing DNA-based immunotherapies-for the treatment of human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18. It also has a partnership with Kyowa Hakko Kirin to commercialize benralizumab for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.