AstraZeneca Invests $1.5 Billion to Build New ADC Manufacturing Facility in Singapore

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This new facility will allow AstraZeneca to offer full manufacturing processing for antibody drug conjugates.

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On May 20, 2024, AstraZeneca announced a new $1.5 billion facility that it is planning to build in Singapore for manufacturing antibody drug conjugates (ADCs). The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) has offered its support to the new facility, which will be AstraZeneca's first end-to-end ADC production site. ADCs, comprising an antibody component linked to a cytotoxic payload, effectively target cancer cells. Their production requires multiple process steps, including antibody production, drug and linker synthesis, conjugation of the drug-linker to the antibody, and filling of the completed ADC. AstraZeneca currently has six wholly owned ADCs in clinical development as well as others in preclinical development.

“AstraZeneca has built an industry-leading portfolio of cancer medicines including antibody drug conjugates which have shown enormous potential to replace traditional chemotherapy for patients across many settings,” said Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer of AstraZeneca, in a press release (1). “Singapore is one of the world’s most attractive countries for investment given its reputation for excellence in complex manufacturing, and I am excited for AstraZeneca to locate our $1.5 billion ADC manufacturing facility in the country.”

"We welcome AstraZeneca's decision to establish a manufacturing presence in Singapore for the first time. It will also be a first for AstraZeneca—an end-to-end manufacturing facility for novel antibody drug conjugates that enables precision therapy for cancer,” said Png Cheong Boon, chairman, EDB, in the release. “This greenfield investment is a strong show of confidence in Singapore's biopharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities and talent, strengthens our ecosystem in supporting the development and manufacturing of precision medicines, and creates meaningful jobs and economic opportunities for Singapore. We look forward to a successful partnership with AstraZeneca."

AstraZeneca will work with the Singapore's government and other partners on sustainability solutions for the new ADC facility. The company plans for the facility to have zero carbon emissions. Construction on the new facility will begin at the end of 2024 with a target of 2029 for full operation.

In an email commenting on AstraZeneca’s Singapore investment (2), Paul Tomasic, managing director and head of European Healthcare at Houlihan Lokey, said:


“With a wide portfolio of in-house [a]ntibody-[d]rug [c]onjugates (ADCs) at various stages of clinical and pre-clinical development, AstraZeneca’s plan to build a new facility by 2029 exemplifies the long-term strategic thinking of large-cap pharmaceutical companies aiming to control their supply chains more effectively. This move reflects the industry's recognition of the complexities and costs associated with developing and manufacturing ADCs, which necessitates substantial investment in infrastructure to ensure quality and efficiency in production.

“The construction of this facility also highlights a broader trend within the pharmaceutical industry, where strategic initiatives are being directed towards high-growth market segments. ADCs, for instance, represent a significant opportunity with an estimated market size of $10 billion, growing at a rate exceeding 15% annually, driven largely by their promising applications in oncology. By investing in dedicated facilities, companies are positioning themselves to capitalize on this rapid growth and technological advancement.

“The strategic significance of ADCs in the pharmaceutical industry is underscored by other recent high-profile acquisitions. AbbVie’s $10 billion acquisition of ImmunoGen was partly motivated by the latter's expertise in ADCs, particularly in the area of solid tumor oncology. Similarly, Pfizer's acquisition of Seagen for $43 billion significantly bolstered its oncology capabilities, integrating Seagen's pioneering ADC technology.

“These acquisitions illustrate how major pharmaceutical companies are significantly expanding their oncology portfolios and technological capabilities to maintain a competitive edge in the market. AstraZeneca in particular, stands out as a market leader in the increasingly competitive market for ADCs, with the development of the site in Singapore further cementing its position.”


1. AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca Plans $1.5 Billion Manufacturing Facility for Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs) in Singapore. Press Release. May 20, 2024.
2. Tomasic, P. Commenting on AstraZeneca Building a $1.5bn Manufacturing Site in Singapore. Email Distributed by Dynevor, S. Houlihan Lokey, May 20, 2024.