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FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies plans to invest £400 million (US$528 million) to expand its Billingham, Teeside facility in the United Kingdom.
FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies announced on Dec. 2, 2021 that it plans to invest £400 million (US$528 million) into expanding its UK facility in Billingham, Teesside. The investment more than doubles the site’s existing development and manufacturing footprint and will create a large, multi-modal biopharmaceutical manufacturing site in the United Kingdom. The new facilities are expected to be operational by late 2023 and up to 350 highly-skilled jobs are expected to be created.
The new campus will include two new state-of-the-art facilities: a viral gene therapy good manufacturing practice (GMP) facility and a GMP mammalian cell culture facility. The expansion is part of a ¥90 billion (US$791 million) global capital investment package that FUJIFILM Corporation initially outlined in June 2021.
The new cell culture facility in the Billingham campus will triple that site’s existing cell culture capacity with the addition of 4 × 2000-L and 2 x 500-L single-use bioreactors. Both monoclonal antibodies and novel antibody treatments will be manufacturing at the site. FUJIFILM will also add its MaruX GMP continuous manufacturing platform to the new facility, which will offer differentiated connected and integrated production.
The company’s viral vector and gene therapy services in Billingham will be expanded to offer dedicated process development capabilities as well as the new commercial-scale viral gene therapy GMP facility. The company’s gene therapy production capacity will grow ten-fold with this expansion. The Billingham viral vector facility will complement FUJIFILM’s existing facilities in College Station, Texas and Watertown, Mass. Both vaccine manufacturing and messenger RNA production will also be expanded at the Billingham site.
The viral vector and gene therapy manufacturing expansion at Bilingham follows a previous announcement in which FUJIFILM stated it plans to expands its viral vector and gene therapy offerings in Darlington, UK, to include process development laboratories and manufacturing capabilities to support the production of investigational gene therapies in early-stage clinical trials. The process development laboratories have already begun operations, with GMP manufacturing services slated to start up in spring 2022.
In addition to this current expansion, the company plans to expand its existing 5000-L GMP microbial production facilities on the Billingham campus, which will increase microbial fermentation capacity by almost two-thirds. The microbial production expansion, which is expected to be operational by late 2023/early 2024, will include over 20,000 ft2 of modular downstream cleanroom space, including two primary recovery and refolding suites, two purification suites, and a column packing room. The cleanroom space will be designed to implement the company’s SymphonX technology. Quality control (QC) labs, office space, and materials storage will also be included with this microbial production expansion.
“We all know that there has never been a more important time to invest in biopharmaceuticals—and £400 million, the largest investment in British biopharmaceutical manufacturing for decades, signals FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ intent to be able to offer multi-modal options to respond to our customers’ needs with flexibility and agility to help solve public health demands, and deliver the medicines and vaccines of tomorrow,” said Martin Meeson, CEO of FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, in a company press release. “With a strong growing demand for microbial, cell culture, and viral gene therapy services, we are adding the capacity and latest technologies within one campus to offer a range of modalities to build an offering that will deliver novel promising treatments to patients for years to come.”