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.
The new facility will cost $55 million, employ 100 people and triple the company’s gene therapy manufacturing capacity, Fujifilm said. The company did not say how the other $65 million of its gene therapy investment would be spent.
“We are very much aware of the incredible growth in such an important therapeutic space,” said Martin Meeson, President and COO of Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, US, in a statement. “We know that we need to invest now, in technology, assets and people in order to achieve a market leadership position.”
Although the gene therapy market is still in its infancy, the company projected the CDMO side would be worth $1.7 billion by 2025. Thermo Fisher said the gene therapy manufacturer it acquired, Brammer Bio, was on pace to take in $250 million in 2019. And when Catalent announced the Paragon deal, they said the company was on target to bring in over $200 million this year.
The investment pales to Fujifilm’s high-priced acquisitions for cell therapy, a larger space currently, and other biologics. In August, the company purchased Biogen’s cell-culture-derived-biologics factory in Denmark for $890 million cash. Last year, they spent $800 million on two cell culture media companies, Irvine Scientific Sales Company and IS Japan, from a Japanese oil giant.
The new center will be 60,000 square feet and operational by 2021, the company said.