Ther­mo Fish­er will drop a whop­ping $600M in­to its man­u­fac­tur­ing sup­ply chain as Covid-19 work ramps up

With Covid-19 con­tract work grow­ing at a rapid clip, the biggest CD­MOs are tak­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ty — and a wind­fall of cash — to carve out big­ger foot­prints. At Ther­mo Fish­er Sci­en­tif­ic, the time’s nev­er been bet­ter for a far­sight­ed glob­al ex­pan­sion that will great­ly ex­pand its man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­i­ty and add re­dun­dan­cy to the sup­ply chain.

Ther­mo will pump $600 mil­lion in­to its glob­al man­u­fac­tur­ing net­work as part of a move to ramp up its short-term Covid-19 work and more than dou­ble its ca­pac­i­ty for the fu­ture, the Mass­a­chu­setts firm said Wednes­day.

Tar­get­ing 11 sites spread through­out the Amer­i­c­as, Eu­rope and Asia, Ther­mo ex­pects to add 1,500 em­ploy­ees to its glob­al work­force in or­der to ex­pand its bio­pro­cess­ing ca­pac­i­ty for sin­gle-use tech, cell cul­ture me­dia and pu­rifi­ca­tion. The ex­pan­sions are set to be com­plet­ed by 2022.

Ther­mo’s grow­ing foot­print will in­clude:

  • Adding ca­pac­i­ty for sin­gle-use tech at lo­ca­tions in Lo­gan, Utah; Millers­burg, Penn­syl­va­nia; Cram­ling­ton, UK.; Sin­ga­pore; and Suzhou, Chi­na.  An ad­di­tion­al in­vest­ment at Ther­mo’s San­ta Clara, Cal­i­for­nia site will ex­pand bio­pro­cess­ing equip­ment and au­toma­tion ca­pac­i­ty.
  • Ex­pand­ing the com­pa­ny’s POROS resin man­u­fac­tur­ing site in Bed­ford, Mass­a­chu­setts. and open a new 85,000-square-foot man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ty in Chelms­ford, Mass­a­chu­setts. Those sites will “re­in­force” Ther­mo’s pu­rifi­ca­tion sup­ply chain and add ex­per­tise in vac­cines and gene ther­a­pies, the com­pa­ny said.
  • Ex­pand­ing cell cul­ture me­dia ca­pac­i­ty at sites in Grand Is­land, New York; Mi­a­mi, Flori­da; and Inchin­nan, Scot­land.

“These in­vest­ments add sig­nif­i­cant ca­pac­i­ty and re­gion­al re­dun­dan­cy to fur­ther bol­ster sup­ply chains and help us bet­ter sup­port cus­tomers as they ac­cel­er­ate the com­mer­cial­iza­tion of life­sav­ing ther­a­pies and vac­cines,” Ther­mo Fish­er ex­ec­u­tive VP Michel La­garde said in a state­ment.

Sim­i­lar to the oth­er big play­ers in the CD­MO space amid a red-hot mar­ket for Covid-19 con­tract work, Ther­mo has been plac­ing big down pay­ments on ex­pand­ing its tech in vac­cines.

In Jan­u­ary, the com­pa­ny shelled out $878 mil­lion to ac­quire Henogen SA, No­vasep’s vi­ral vec­tor man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness, which com­pris­es two Bel­gian lo­ca­tions in Sen­effe and Gos­selies and of­fers more than 75,000 square feet of clin­i­cal and com­mer­cial man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­i­ty. No­vasep comes with 400 em­ploy­ees and an­nu­al rev­enue of $95 mil­lion. In a state­ment at the time, La­garde said the ad­di­tion of Eu­ro­pean man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­i­ty would com­ple­ment Ther­mo’s four CD­MO sites in the US.

Back in De­cem­ber, Ther­mo launched a par­al­lel glob­al ex­pan­sion for its vac­cine of­fer­ings, an­nounc­ing plans to beef up its fa­cil­i­ties in Greenville, North Car­oli­na; Fer­enti­no and Mon­za, Italy; and Swin­don, Eng­land.

Though not work­ing on the scale of oth­er ma­jor CD­MOs like Catal­ent, Ther­mo did ice a deal in Sep­tem­ber to pro­duce In­ovio’s Covid-19 vac­cine (INO-4800) be­gin­ning this year. Al­so on the Covid front, Ther­mo in May en­tered in­to a deal with Cal­i­for­nia-based Hu­mani­gen to help scale up man­u­fac­tur­ing of the biotech’s lenzilum­ab, 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.

2023 Spot­light on the Fu­ture of Drug De­vel­op­ment for Small and Mid-Sized Biotechs

In the context of today’s global economic environment, there is an increasing need to work smarter, faster and leaner across all facets of the life sciences industry.  This is particularly true for small and mid-sized biotech companies, many of which are facing declining valuations and competing for increasingly limited funding to propel their science forward.  It is important to recognize that within this framework, many of these smaller companies already find themselves resource-challenged to design and manage clinical studies themselves because they don’t have large teams or in-house experts in navigating the various aspects of the drug development journey. This can be particularly challenging for the most complex and difficult to treat diseases where no previous pathway exists and patients are urgently awaiting breakthroughs.

Kristen Hege, Bristol Myers Squibb SVP, early clinical development, oncology/hematology and cell therapy (Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News)

Q&A: Bris­tol My­er­s' Kris­ten Hege on cell ther­a­py, can­cer pa­tients and men­tor­ing the next gen­er­a­tion

Kristen Hege leads Bristol Myers Squibb’s early oncology discovery program carrying on from the same work at Celgene, which was acquired by BMS in 2019. She’s known for her early work in CAR-T, having pioneered the first CAR-T cell trial for solid tumors more than 25 years ago.

However, the eminent physician-scientist is more than just a drug developer mastermind. She’s also a practicing physician, mother to two young women, an avid backpacker and intersecting all those interests — a champion of young women and people of color in STEM and life sciences.

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Gossamer Bio CEO Faheem Hasnain at Endpoints' #BIO22 panel (J.T. MacMillan Photography for Endpoints News)

Gos­samer’s Fa­heem Has­nain de­fends a round of pos­i­tive PAH da­ta as a clear win. But can these PhII re­sults stand up to scruti­ny?

Gossamer Bio $GOSS posted a statistically significant improvement for its primary endpoint in the key Phase II TORREY trial for lead drug seralutinib on Tuesday morning. But CEO Faheem Hasnain has some explaining to do on the important secondary of the crucial six-minute walk distance test — which will be the primary endpoint in Phase III — as the data on both endpoints fell short of expectations, missing one analyst’s bar on even modest success.

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US sup­ports ex­ten­sion for Covid-19 IP waiv­er de­ci­sion

After much debate, the US government is now calling for a deadline extension to discuss a controversial potential IP waiver for Covid-19 diagnostics and therapeutics.

Over the last five months, the Office of the United States Trade Representative said it has consulted with members of Congress, public health advocates, organized labor groups, academics, think tanks, companies and trade associations on the WTO’s recent TRIPS agreement, which established a 5-year waiver of certain patent requirements on Covid-19 vaccines.

Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: Phar­mas lay off Twit­ter ads for an­oth­er week; WPP un­cov­ers LGBTQ+ mar­ket­ing find­ings

When Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk tweeted this weekend, “Just a note to thank advertisers for returning to Twitter,” he likely wasn’t talking about big pharma companies. The vast majority of the top spending pharma advertisers had not returned last week, according to updated tracking data Pathmatic for Endpoints News.

Only three pharma advertisers spent any money at all, which is about the same as the past several weeks. AstraZeneca rejoined the active advertiser list, although at $700 spent hardly worth a personal Musk expression of gratitude. GSK remained active with $3,500 spent ad much lower than its previous spending, according to the Pathmatics data. Only Bayer spent any significant amount in advertising, with $244,000 spent last week, but that’s a considerable drop from almost $500,000 spent on OTC, prescription and corporate Twitter ads in each of the previous two weeks.

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Rick Modi, Affinia Therapeutics CEO

Ver­tex-part­nered gene ther­a­py biotech Affinia scraps IPO plans

Affinia Therapeutics has ditched its plans to go public in a relatively closed-door market that has not favored Nasdaq debuts for the drug development industry most of this year. A pandemic surge in 2020 and 2021 opened the doors for many preclinical startups, which caught Affinia’s attention and gave the gene therapy biotech confidence in the beginning days of 2022 to send in its S-1.

But on Friday, Affinia threw in the S-1 towel and concluded now is not the time to step onto Wall Street. The biotech has put out few public announcements since the spring of this year. Endpoints News picked the startup as one of its 11 biotechs to watch last year.

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Bob Duggan, Summit Therapeutics co-CEO

Bounc­ing from ma­jor set­back, Sum­mit hands out $500M cash for can­cer drug — thanks to a loan from bil­lion­aire CEO

After hitting a dead end with Summit Therapeutics’ lead program, Bob Duggan has found the drug that he believes will usher into a compelling second act. So compelling, in fact, that it involves $500 million cash — and he’s taking money out of his own pocket to fund the deal.

Striking a partnership with Akeso Therapeutics out of China, Summit is bringing in a bispecific antibody that blocks both PD-1 and VEGF called ivonescimab. Akeso, which has a PD-1/CTLA-4 bispecific approved in China, has already taken ivonescimab into multiple clinical trials, including a Phase III in lung cancer.

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Jay Lichter, Arialys Therapeutics CEO (Avalon Ventures)

Scoop: Aval­on, MPM back new CNS biotech with sci­en­tif­ic chops from Astel­las

A preclinical central nervous system biotech is in the works in La Jolla, CA, and the drug developer has reeled in capital from a syndicate of investors, Endpoints News has learned.

Arialys Therapeutics filed incorporation documents in the Golden State last December and applied its name for trademark protection with the US Patent and Trademark Office the week prior to that. Paperwork with the SEC also outlines plans to offer up equity in exchange for $55 million.

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Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEO (Efren Landaos/Sipa USA/Sipa via AP Images)

Pfiz­er makes an­oth­er bil­lion-dol­lar in­vest­ment in Eu­rope and ex­pands again in Michi­gan

Pfizer is continuing its run of manufacturing site expansions with two new large investments in the US and Europe.

The New York-based pharma giant’s site in Kalamazoo, MI, has seen a lot of attention over the past year. As a major piece of the manufacturing network for Covid-19 vaccines and antivirals, Pfizer is gearing up to place more money into the site. Pfizer announced it will place $750 million into the facility, mainly to establish “modular aseptic processing” (MAP) production and create around 300 jobs at the site.

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