Author Archives: Dan Stanton

COVID catalyst: MilliporeSigma expedites $30m French expansion

MilliporeSigma has accelerated plans to add a single-use assembly production unit at its site in Molsheim, France on the back of COVID-19 demand. The $30 million injection at the site, just west of Strasbourg, will add 18,300 square feet of cleanroom space to produce MilliporeSigma’s Mobius single-use assemblies for use in the production of both COVID-19 vaccines and other therapies. The expansion will generate more than 350 jobs. The facility will become the first European site to make the single-use…

With $58m in hand, Touchlight looks to triple DNA manufacturing capacity

Touchlight says the latest fundraising round will help increase production capacity to up to 1 kilogram of DNA per month – enough for 1 billion vaccine doses – as demand skyrockets. Hampton, UK-based firm Touchlight has raised £42 million ($58 million) through a fundraising round led by Bridford Investments Limited. The firm produces synthetic DNA used as starting material in advanced therapies including lentivirus and messenger RNA (mRNA) and says the cash injection will be used to expand production capacity,…

Pfizer exits Chinese biosimilars space, selling plant to WuXi

As part of a “difficult decision” to halt its biosimilars programs in China, Pfizer is offloading its single-use biologics manufacturing plant in Hangzhou to WuXi Biologics. Pfizer is one of the world’s largest biosimilar manufacturers, with seven commercialized products in the US alone (Inflectra, Retacrit, Nivestym, Nyvepria, Zirabev, Trazimera, Ruxience). In 2016, Pfizer took aim at the Chinese market by investing $350 million in the Hangzhou Economic Development Area (HEDA) to set up a biosimilars manufacturing facility. Five years on…

Thermo Fisher rolls out 3,000 and 5,000 L single-use bioreactors

Strong demand for large-scale single-use systems has driven Thermo Fisher to launch bioreactors with capacities beyond the standard limits. Single-use bioreactors have become a staple in the bioprocess industry, both for clinical and commercial batches. Traditionally, these have been restricted in size due to pressure challenges from the increased weight of the liquid medium in larger volume bags with 2,000 L being the upper limit. Thus, if biomanufacturers require larger volumes, they generally would run several systems in unison or…

‘mRNA has been validated’ – Pfizer looks beyond COVID

Pfizer is set to make around $15 billion from its COVID vaccine this year, but going forward the firm expects mRNA to be key in other applications. Through its partnership with BioNTech, Pfizer became the first company to receive US and EU approval for a messenger RNA-based product, namely the COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b2. Rollout of the vaccine continues across the globe and as such Pfizer has estimated it will realize approximately $15 billion in sales in 2021 alone. Speaking at…

Thermo Fisher’s $600m injection: News? No, just business as usual

Thermo Fisher’s $600 million CAPEX has got the trade press salivating. But similar statements, expansions underway, and continued demand mean this is just another day in the pandemic-fueled bioprocess space. Yesterday, Thermo Fisher Scientific issued a press release to announce “more than $600 million in capital investments to expand its bioprocessing production capabilities through 2022.” The firm said: “These investments are expected to more than double the company’s current manufacturing capacity and support biopharma customers as they ramp up to…

Exelixis inks deal with WuXi Bio as it advances ADC ambition

“We really like the ADC space,” says Exelixis as it licenses a panel of monoclonal antibodies from WuXi Biologics. Californian pharma firm Exelixis has paid what it describes as a “modest” upfront payment to Chinese drugmaker WuXi Biologics for the exclusive license of a panel of monoclonal antibodies to a preclinically validated target for the development of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), bispecifics, and other biologic applications. “Our agreement with WuXi Bio enhances our growing biotherapeutics portfolio by providing an approach to…

Podcast: Content is king in bioprocessing and beyond

In the latest episode of the BioProcess Insider Expression System, Brian Caine (remember him) talks content, marketing, and communications in the biomanufacturing industry. Brian Caine, founder and publisher of our parent publication BioProcess International, stepped down from his position late last year to pursue new ventures. After a quarter of a century in the life sciences space, he speaks to us about the evolving publishing landscape and while he stresses ‘content is king,’ he warns that you cannot just print…

Amgen buying Five Prime in $1.9bn antibody pipeline booster

Amgen says it will leverage its biologics process development and manufacturing proficiency to bring Five Prime Therapeutics’ gastric cancer antibody bemarituzumab to market. The deal announced yesterday and expected to go through before July sees Amgen bag South San Francisco-based biotech Five Prime Therapeutics for about $1.9 billion in cash. Five Prime’s lead candidate is bemarituzumab, a monoclonal antibody designed to block tumor growth in patients with tumors that overexpress FGFR2b. The company is studying the drug in partnership with…

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…