Fujifilm's CDMO arm plots massive $2B plant in the US for broad range of therapeutics
Buoyed by interest from major Covid-19 vaccine makers for its viral-vector capabilities, Fujifilm’s CDMO arm has looked to rapidly build its US footprint to meet demand. Now, just days after unveiling plans for a new HQ in the Boston area, Fujifilm is putting down a massive down payment on another US site.
Fujifilm will spend $2 billion by 2025 to build a large-scale cell culture production plant near one of its existing facilities as the Japanese CDMO looks to expand and scale its US footprint. The newest plant will help boost Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’ cumulative growth by 20% by March 2026, the company said.
Fujifilm said in a press release Thursday that the facility will be built as an extension of an existing US site, but didn’t provide further details. Granted, that doesn’t leave too many options, as Diosynth Biotechnologies currently operates only in College Station, Texas, and Morrisville, North Carolina.
On Tuesday, the conglomerate announced a new headquarters in the bustling Boston area, which will begin limited viral-vector manufacturing operations later this year before it’s fully operational in 2023.
A company spokesperson told Endpoints News in an email Thursday that no further decisions have been made on where exactly the site will be.
Regardless, it signifies a marked expansion for Fujifilm, which has sought since 2017 to increase its footprint in the biopharma manufacturing realm. That year, the spotlight was on expanding monoclonal antibody facilities, and in 2018, the conglomerate ventured to regenerative medicine by buying two companies specializing in cell-culture media. More recent expansions, including Tuesday’s, indicate a more general focus on meeting unmet medical needs.
With the new site scheduled to begin operations in the spring of 2025, the CDMO will have a drug substance production line capacity of eight 20,000-liter bioreactors for mammalian cells, a fully automated fill-finish system, and a packaging line for assembling syringes and automatic-packaging equipment.
“The United States is the world’s biggest market for biopharmaceuticals,” Fujifilm President Kenji Sukeno said in a statement. “I am pleased that through this large investment in the U.S.A we are able to support the development and manufacturing of new drugs that can help fulfill unmet medical needs.”
Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies CEO Martin Meeson said the newest facility will house the capacity to turn out a broad range of therapies in the coming years.
“We are leveraging our strengths in process development and manufacturing for a wide range of biopharmaceuticals such as antibodies, recombinant proteins, gene therapies and vaccines,” he said.
Fujifilm said it’s set a target of $2 billion by its fiscal year ending in March 2025 for its facilities in College Station and Teesside, UK. By the following year, it expects the aforementioned 20% growth rate to kick in.