Abzena picks North Carolina as the home for its 6th manufacturing site, plans to add 325 jobs in Sanford
While Boston and San Francisco are the unquestioned leading biotech hubs in the US, drugmakers — particularly contract manufacturers — are looking elsewhere for cheaper real estate and untapped potential. Now, a San Diego-based biologics maker looking to rapidly scale up is setting down roots in North Carolina.
CDMO Abzena will add 325 jobs in Sanford, NC, as part of a $200 million biologics plant that will eventually house around 24,000 square feet of bioreactor capacity, the company said.
The facility is coming as part of a multi-phase outlay that will add four modular suites in the initial phase, each of which will house two 2,000-liter bioreactors. A second phase will add another two suites with the 2,000-liter bioreactors, for a total of 12. The facility, Abzena said, will accommodate Phase III and commercial manufacturing, and will also be equipped to handle continuous manufacturing and perfusion by the middle of 2022.
The expansion also comes as a big boon for North Carolina, one of the fastest-growing biotech hubs in the country.
“North Carolina offers great resources for access to a talented workforce and other resources for us as we bring the new facility on-line,” Abzena President and COO Kimball Hall said in a statement.
The Abzena announcement comes just weeks after CDMO Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies also picked North Carolina as the future home of its own $2 billion biologics site that will rival some of the largest facilities in the world. The Japanese subsidiary picked Holly Springs, NC, for its cell culture, planning to add 725 jobs in the area by 2028.
Fujifilm had been searching for a home for the plant after announcing its intent to build back in January. The company eyed locations within shouting distance of its existing US sites in College Station, TX, and Morrisville, NC. Ultimately, North Carolina won the lottery due to its “strong pool of technical talent, local resources and partners with the right competencies, clean energy resources, and sustainability for future growth,” Fujifilm said in a release.
The plants will come online in spring 2025 and house eight 20,000-liter bioreactors with the potential to expand and add a further 24 bioreactors of the same size “based on market demand,” the company says. The site will also include commercial-scale, automated fill-finish and assembly, packaging and labeling services.
Social image: Jonathan Goldman, Abzena CEO