Continuing rapid expansion, Thermo Fisher says it will add on plasmid DNA manufacturing site in California
It’s been a whirlwind week for Thermo Fisher.
Over the course of five days prior to Wednesday, the Massachusetts CDMO had announced two major expansion projects across the globe, both of which will increase the company’s footprint in the vaccine marketplace. And now, Thermo has unveiled a third major expansion project — this time, a new cGMP facility specializing in the production of plasmid DNA at its Carlsbad, California site.
The 67,000-square-foot facility, expected to be completed in the first half of 2021, will allow the manufacturing giant to expand its clinical and commercial capabilities for therapeutics involving independently-replicating DNA molecules. The facility will add 150 jobs over the next year, Thermo Fisher said in a press release.
Studying plasmid DNA as a critical raw material could prompt discoveries of life-saving cancer treatments and aid in mRNA vaccine production.
The latter is especially relevant now, as both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines are based around mRNA technology. The Carlsbad site will also have the capacity to produce large-scale plasmid DNA as a primary drug substance for DNA therapies. Such capacity is essential, Thermo senior VP Mike Shafer said in the press release, as the global plasmids market is growing so rapidly that supply currently can’t meet the projected demand.
“Our new state-of-the art site will not only tackle the supply bottleneck for our customers, but also uniquely positions us to deliver robust, end-to-end cell and gene therapy capabilities,” Shafer said. “Our customers can leverage our deep industry knowledge and expertise in the complexities of cell and gene therapy at all points along the pathway to commercialization — from research and preclinical development to clinical and now expanded commercial and supply chain services.”
In addition to the Carlsbad facility, Thermo Fisher also has new facilities in Rheinfelden and Weil am Rhein, Germany, going online this month and next, respectively. Those facilities will focus on clinical supply chain continuity, namely in specialized cold-chain and cryogenic expertise.
Thermo Fisher also recently announced expansion projects at facilities in Greenville, NC; Ferentino and Monza, Italy; and Swindon, England, to widen the range of options available to customers, especially in the vaccine arena.