Cytiva opens doors at Cardiff site as part of $1.5B global expansion
In a September interview with Endpoints News, Cytiva CMO Conor McKechnie said that the company was focusing on in-region, for-region manufacturing as the biopharma world felt the impact of supply woes that affected the entire world.
However, the company is now taking its next step forward in supporting the global industry with the opening of a new 118,400 square-foot site last week in Cardiff, Wales focused on manufacturing single-use bioprocessing tech. Employees at the site have already started to make mixer bags, flow kits and tubing assemblies to ship to customers for the development of Covid-19 vaccines, among other biopharmaceuticals. The site will service customers around the world, but provide customers in the UK and Europe with a closer operation to work alongside.
“Since 2020, we have invested and significantly increased global capacity to address our customers’ growing needs. We continue to expand with new manufacturing sites, such as that in Cardiff,” Mary Blenn, Cytiva’s VP of the global supply chain, said in a statement. “This facility also gives us an enhanced presence in the UK, allowing us to provide more regional options to our customers there.”
The single-use tech made in Cardiff will be used by Cytiva’s clients for cancer, autoimmune and rare disease drugs, in addition to Covid-19 vaccines.
In August, Cytiva outlined a plan to invest $1.5 billion into its global operations, including $400 million for cell culture media and $300 million for single-use technologies. Part of the mission is to build up the team in Cardiff. Cytiva is looking to hire manufacturing staff, warehouse workers, material handlers and R&D scientists, the company said. Right now on the Danaher website, there are 27 jobs posted, ranging from global infrastructure IT analyst to warehouse operator to biology production supervisor.
In just the last six months, 100 of those roles have been filled already, Blenn said in an email to Endpoints. The efforts are going to continue over the next 18 months. The Cardiff site is offering in-person training and support for roles such as material handlers and warehouse operators.
“The biopharma skills gap is one of the biggest challenges facing the global industry right now,” Blenn said. “We know recruiting the right talent starts early and that’s why we are proud to have links with academic institutions and industry bodies such as the Life Sciences Hub Wales in Cardiff who can support our hiring plans. In Cardiff, we are recruiting specialist roles such as in R&D but we also need a great many shopfloor workers –roles such as warehouse operators and material handlers.”
In July, a report from the BioIndustry Association showed that the UK’s life sciences sector was about to enter a “golden age,” thanks, in part, to a strong demand that resulted in £1.6 billion raised in three months, the largest dollar amount ever recorded for a quarter. UK companies accounted for 60% of all biotech venture capital invested in Europe in 2021. The country ranked third in the world in IPO activity, behind Massachusetts and San Francisco, Clarivate’s head of thought leadership Mike Ward said.
“The UK biotech sector continues to maintain its fundraising momentum and remains one of the world’s leading biotech hotspots. Indeed, in the first half of 2021, UK biotechs raised more money from VC sources than for the whole of 2020.”
An emphasis has been placed on sustainability. There are energy meters throughout the site to ensure optimization of electricity and reduce the overall consumption of energy, and the team is investigating “dynamic” cleanroom controls, which Cytiva says would reduce power use up to 60%. Neighboring offices will run “very close” to carbon neutral. The completed site will help up Cytiva’s single-use capacity by about 20%.