Fujifilm breaks ground at $54m NC biologics plant expansion

The expansion at a cell culture facility in Research Triangle Park will feed the demand for growing biologics pipelines, says CDMO Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies.

Contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Fujifilm broke ground on a 31,778 square-foot extension at its site in Research Triangle Park, Morrisville, North Carolina, which will add recovery and purification suites to support biomanufacturing.

The firm says it will increase its cell culture manufacturing capacity by approximately 25% and microbial capacity by approximately 50% when the extension is GMP-ready.

Image: Fujifilm execs broke ground at the plant extension yesterday. L to R: VP of manufacturing Christine Vannais, EVP Kenji Orihashi, COO Martin Meeson, senior director of operations Stephenie Robertson

The expansion represents an investment of around JPY 6 billion ($54 million), Fujifilm spokeswoman Christine Jackman told this publication, and forms part of a JPY 10 billion investment plan announced in January 2019 to bolster the Morrisville plant’s biomanufacturing capabilities.

“Fujifilm has made several announcements on investments to grow its bioCDMO division, of which this expansion is one of them,” she told us. “All of our investments have the goal of supporting the ever growing pipelines and needs of our customers.”

She added the CDMO will determine the needs for increased staffing once the expansion of the facility is complete in mid-2021.

Fujifilm rebranded its CDMO business in 2017. At the time, it said it hoped to achieve sales of JPY 100 billion/ $1 billion by 2024 – almost four times its 2016 revenue – by achieving a high level of business growth through significant capital investments to reinforce the company’s capabilities. The firm invested $130m into its global CDMO business in 2017 before announcing the JPY 10 billion last year.

The event yesterday was attended by representatives from local organizations including Economic Development of North Carolina, The RTP Foundation, North Carolina Biosciences Organization, North Carolina Biotechnology Center and the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce.