Looking for an edge in vaccines, Thermo Fisher plots major expansions across global manufacturing sites in its portfolio
In a big year for contract manufacturers, Massachusetts’ Thermo Fisher Scientific has emerged as a leading partner for drugmakers fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in diagnostics and therapeutics. Now, buoyed by that success and looking to scale up its vaccine offerings, Thermo Fisher is plotting big expansion across its global portfolio.
Thermo Fisher will expand its facilities in Greenville, NC; Ferentino and Monza, Italy; and Swindon, England, to expand its range of offerings for customers”whether it’s an emerging biotech working on a vaccine for a novel virus or a high-volume pharmaceutical manufacturer delivering necessary medicines at scale,” a spokesperson told Endpoints News.
Thermo is keeping the capital outlay for the projects under wraps, but here’s more about each site’s expansion:
Greenville, NC: A new, standalone 130,000-square-foot building which comprises two live-virus filling lines (operational in 2022), and seven other new lines including commercial-scale liquid filling lines and a development line for liquid and lyophilized drug products and syringes (operational in 2021).
Ferentino, Italy: A 28,000-square-foot development building will offer new capacity for one flexible line of development projects and small-scale commercial manufacturing (operational in 2022), with the space to add future capabilities. The site will also add on a new high-capacity commercial liquid filling line that will be operational in 2021.
Monza, Italy: This site will expand its sterile fill-finish line capacity, with three new lines expected to be operational in 2021, including one high-capacity line for liquid and lyophilized filling, one pre-filled syringe/pre-filled cartridge line for medium batch production and one flexible multi-purpose line for low volume filling of vials, pre-filled syringes and pre-filled cartridges in nest and tub configurations.
Swindon, England: The Swindon expansion will actually revamp the existing 30,000-square-foot site into a new, full-scale commercial manufacturing facility, the spokesperson said. The site, which will be operational in 2021, will add one production line for liquid and one line for lyophilized — in addition to “extensive” cold-chain storage for vaccines that require ultra-low temperatures.
The expansions make clear the ever-growing need for viable and sterile vaccine production, even outside of the current breakneck efforts to produce a Covid-19 vaccine. Thermo Fisher has waded into that race as well, agreeing in September to produce Inovio’s Covid-19 vaccine (INO-4800) beginning in 2021.
Also on the Covid-19 front, Thermo Fisher in May entered into a deal with California-based Humanigen to help scale up manufacturing of the biotech’s lenlizumab, a clinical-stage candidate for cytokine storms that the company is testing in patients with more severe cases of the respiratory virus. In September, Thermo Fisher agreed to a deal with the US government to produce the viral transport media tubes needed to transport Covid-19 test samples.
Prior to the four expansion sites announced this week, the company also announced recently an expansion in Singapore that includes a high-speed sterile line for live-virus filling. Thermo Fisher also agreed to a joint venture with Innoforce to build a new pharmaceutical services facility in Hangzhou, China that focuses on integrated biologics drug substance and sterile drug product development and manufacturing.
Both of those sites are expected to be completed in 2022.