Author Archives: Dan Stanton

Biogen to build $200m NC plant to support gene therapy ambitions

Biogen has laid down plans to build a gene therapy manufacturing at its Research Triangle Park (RTP) manufacturing campus in North Carolina. The planned 175,000 square-foot plant – set to create 90 jobs once operational – will support Biogen’s gene therapy pipeline across multiple therapeutic areas. “With this new facility, Biogen is investing in robust and scalable gene therapy manufacturing with the goal of ensuring reliable supply to patients worldwide,” the company said in a statement. “Gene therapy is an…

Pharmaron to buy Allergan Biologics biz from AbbVie for $119m

The addition of a plant in Liverpool, UK, from AbbVie will support ambitions in the biologics and cell and gene therapy space, says service firm Pharmaron. Chinese pharma services firm Pharmaron Beijing Co is set to pay $118.7 million in cash to AbbVie for its Allergan Biologics Limited (ABL) business, located in Liverpool, UK. AbbVie acquired ABL as part of its $63 billion acquisition of Allergan in 2019. The proposed sale – expected to go through in the second quarter…

Avid kicks off second phase of $60-70m capacity expansion

After beginning a $15 million expansion of its Myford, California facility late last year, CDMO Avid Bioservices is starting work on a second extension estimated to cost $45 to $55 million. Contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Avid Bioservices had been looking to build out the Myford, Tustin, California production facility for several years to prepare for continued high demand from the biologics sector. Plans for a $30-40 million expansion finally materialized last July, but no date or details were…

Industry calls for standardization and simplification to boost manufacturing agility

Executives from Novavax, Fujifilm, and Biocon have called for standardized processes and simplified regulations after a Cytiva-led survey showed improving manufacturing agility is a major priority for biopharma. A survey of around 1,100 senior executives across 20 countries commissioned by bioprocess vendor Cytiva has highlighted industry’s confidence in the biopharma space. With respondents scoring several sectors within the industry, the Biopharma Resilience Index averaged an overall score of 6.6 out of 10. But according to Hannah Freegard, senior editor at…

Moderna investing $400m in mRNA capacity for COVID-19 and beyond

Moderna aims to up capacity for its COVID-19 vaccine to 1.4 billion doses through investment in ‘flexible’ manufacturing, which it says will offset any risk from variants or future overcapacity. What a year it has been for Moderna Therapeutics. For the fourth quarter 2020, the firm reported sales of $200 million – up from nothing the previous year – as regulatory approvals began rolling in for its messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccine mRNA-1273. Since it began working on a COVID-19…

Merck buying Pandion Therapeutics in $1.85bn deal

Merck & Co. will add a pipeline of precision immune modulators and a drug design and discovery platform through the proposed acquisition of Pandion. The deal, announced today, will see Merck & Co. pay $60 per share in cash for the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based firm, totalling roughly $1.85 billion. Pandion is developing therapies for the tissue-specific treatment of patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and organ transplants. Its lead candidate, bispecific antibody PT101, is in early-phase clinical trial for ulcerative colitis…

Repligen eyes more M&A and expansions as demand continues to rocket

Repligen says it will both reinvest in its manufacturing network and look for M&A opportunities to feed the high demand for bioprocess consumables. For the full year 2020, bioprocessing tech firm Repligen Corporation reported sales of $366 million, up 36% year-on-year. The fourth quarter itself pulled in $108 million, representing a 56% increase on the same period 2019. As with fellow bioprocess vendors (Danaher, Sartorius, Thermo Fisher etc), COVID-19 played a major part in Repligen’s 2020 top line, with its…

Catalent commits to pDNA, buying Delphi and expanding a Maryland plant

Having its own plasmid DNA capabilities will launch Catalent into areas like mRNA and non-viral gene delivery, the CDMO says. Catalent has entered into an agreement to buy fellow contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Delphi Genetics, adding – if the deal goes through – a plasmid DNA (pDNA) platform and supporting production services from preclinical to Phase III. The deal, financial details of which have not been divulged, will also bring Catalent a 17,000 square-foot facility in Gosselies, Belgium,…

Emergent CDMO biz ‘thriving’ in COVID-19 environment

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the growing mammalian and viral vaccines market and placed Emergent in a “leading position” in the CDMO space, says CEO Bob Kramer. The fourth quarter 2020 produced record revenues for Emergent BioSolutions, with the firm reporting sales of $583 million, up 62% on the year prior. For the full year, sales tallied $1.56 billion, up 41% on 2019. While Emergent has its own product line (contributing $340 million in the quarter, with its smallpox vaccine…

eBook: Vaccines — COVID-19 Invigorates a Stagnant Industry

The SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus has galvanized what was a stagnant and oligopoly-run vaccine industry. In this inaugural BioProcess Insider eBook, the first of four to be published in 2021, founding editor Dan Stanton explores economic and technical conditions that until now have hampered innovation in vaccine development and discouraged market entry for emerging biotechnology companies. Leveraging commentary from vaccine industry experts and analyzing the range of emerging vaccine modalities, Stanton surveys how industry responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are fostering…