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Fu­ji­film dou­bles down on ex-Bio­gen fa­cil­i­ty with $928M in­fu­sion as biotech boom fu­els CD­MO growth

Almost a year after bagging a Biogen manufacturing subsidiary in Denmark for $890 million, Fujifilm is investing even more — to the tune of $928 million — to ramp up its biologics production capacity there.

Fujifilm Diosynth, the contract development and manufacturing arm of the Japanese conglomerate, has been steadily staking out its global presence in the past few years. In 2017 the focus was on expanding the monoclonal antibody facilities. The year after it ventured into regenerative medicine by buying up two companies specializing in cell culture media. Most recently it opened a gene therapy center in preparation for a new wave of treatments.

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Drug man­u­fac­tur­ing gi­ant Lon­za taps Roche/phar­ma ‘rein­ven­tion’ vet as its new CEO

Lonza chairman Albert Baehny took his time headhunting a new CEO for the company, making it absolutely clear he wanted a Big Pharma or biotech CEO with a good long track record in the business for the top spot. In the end, he went with the gold standard, turning to Roche’s ranks to recruit Pierre-Alain Ruffieux for the job.

Ruffieux, a member of the pharma leadership team at Roche, spent close to 5 years at the company. But like a small army of manufacturing execs, he gained much of his experience at the other Big Pharma in Basel, remaining at Novartis for 12 years before expanding his horizons.

Hal Barron, Endpoints UKBIO20 (Jeff Rumans)

GSK inks $231M man­u­fac­tur­ing deal as Hal Bar­ron an­tic­i­pates fruit­ful year for pruned R&D group

Almost halfway into the big turnaround year that Hal Barron has blueprinted for GlaxoSmithKline’s R&D team, the Big Pharma is unveiling a $231 million manufacturing deal to match the growing commercial portfolio.

In a new partnership, GSK has enlisted Samsung Biologics to provide additional manufacturing capacity for its commercial specialty care drugs, beginning with the lupus drug Benlysta. Production will take place in Samsung’s facilities in Korea, the company told Endpoints News.

Robert Spignesi (Rapid Micro Biosystems)

Al­ly Bridge joins Bain in $120M bet that speed­ing up man­u­fac­tur­ing QC can hit big in post-pan­dem­ic world

The global tide of venture and private equity money flooding into biopharma — undeterred, if not boosted, by the public health crisis — is floating the boats of not just drug developers but also the vendors that help them do their job. In the latest example, China’s Ally Bridge Group and Switzerland’s Endeavour Vision have joined Bain Capital in contributing to Rapid Micro Biosystems’ $120 million financing.

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Source: Shutterstock

Theft vic­tim or da­ta bul­ly? IQVIA ex­changes blows with small ri­val it says de­stroyed ev­i­dence in le­gal fight

Three years into their legal battle, the plot around health information giant IQVIA and Veeva’s dispute over reference data and software managing those data continues to thicken.

Just a week after IQVIA filed a motion for default judgment in their trade theft suit with salacious allegations that Veeva intentionally deleted evidence that would prove they stole information from the data giant, Veeva said it’s expanding its antitrust counterclaims to put an end to IQVIA’s “long history of abusing its monopoly position.”

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Catalent CEO John Chiminski speaks at an Endpoints News event at the JP Morgan conference in San Francisco, January 2020 [Jeff Rumans, Endpoints News]

Catal­ent chief John Chimin­s­ki trig­gers a $315M-plus wa­ger on the boom­ing cell ther­a­py mar­ket now in the mak­ing

Last year Catalent CEO John Chiminski invested more than a billion dollars to expand the contract manufacturer ahead of an explosion of gene therapy trials and expected approvals. He’s starting this year with a $315 million wager on the booming cell therapy field.

Just ahead of the market open Monday, Chiminski $CTLT laid out to me the details of his decision to buy a transatlantic player that has been building up manufacturing capability in CAR-Ts, TCRs, TILs (tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes) and mesenchymal stem cell therapies.

In exchange for the $315 million in cash, he’s getting MaSTherCell Global and its 32,000 square-foot facility in Houston and a 25,000 square-foot facility in Gosselies, Belgium. The manufacturing operation is in the process of building out a 60,000-square-foot addition in Belgium set to go live next year, expanding beyond clinical supplies to the commercial realm.

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Alex Karnal (Deerfield)

Deer­field vaults to the top of cell and gene ther­a­py CD­MO game with $1.1B fa­cil­i­ty at Philadel­phi­a's newest bio­phar­ma hub

Back at the beginning of 2015, Deerfield Management co-led a $10 million Series C for a private gene therapy startup, reshaping the company and bringing in new leaders to pave way for an IPO just a year later.

Fast forward four more years and the startup, AveXis, is now a subsidiary of Novartis marketing the second-ever gene therapy to be approved in the US.

For its part, Deerfield has also grown more comfortable and ambitious about the nascent field. And the investment firm is now putting down its biggest bet yet: a $1.1 billion contract development and manufacturing facility to produce everything one needs for cell and gene therapy — faster and better than how it’s currently done.

Credit: Celltrion

Ko­re­a's Cell­tri­on blue­prints $514M bi­o­log­ics plant in Chi­na, beef­ing up biosim­i­lar, con­tract man­u­fac­tur­ing

The Chinese city of Wuhan might have sprung to worldwide infamy for the coronavirus outbreak originating from one of its seafood markets, but if Celltrion has its way, it will become known as a center of biologics manufacturing.

The Korean biosimilars maker has budgeted $514 million (₩600 billion) over five years for a new plant in Wuhan, which it says will be China’s biggest biologics facility at a capacity of 120,000 liters. A groundbreaking ceremony is slated for April.

David Simmons. PPD via YouTube

What are bio­phar­ma com­pa­nies hir­ing CROs for these days? PPD spells it out in bid for $100M IPO

More than eight years after PPD was taken private in a $3.9 billion deal, the 35-years-old contract research organization is bracing for the public market again with a $100 million ask.

Having served all of the top 50 biopharma companies in the world by R&D spending and over 300 biotech fledglings, PPD’s filings highlighted the entrenched role CROs play in an industry chasing an ever dwindling return on investment by pushing for faster timelines and tackling payer resistance to pricey therapies.

Prepar­ing for new wave of treat­ments, Fu­ji­film drops $55 mil­lion for gene ther­a­py cen­ter

The preparations to serve biopharma’s explosion of gene therapy pipeline candidates continues.

Seven months ago Thermo Fisher put down $1.7 billion for a rising gene therapy contract manufacturer. Catalent quickly followed up with a $1.2 billion deal for gene therapy play of its own, acquiring the Maryland-based Paragon Bioservices.  And now, Fujifilm is expanding its own capabilities in the field — with the Japanese conglomerate investing $120 million into the field and building a “Gene Therapy Innovation Center” beside its recently completed base in College Station, Texas.