Boehringer Ingelheim boosted CDMO biz through €370m spend in 2020

Boehringer Ingelheim invested in capacity at sites in Germany and Austria last year on the back of high capacity utilization and increased demand for CDMO services.

While most of Boehringer Ingelheim’s revenues come from its own portfolio of human and animal therapeutics, Boehringer Ingelheim’s biopharma contract manufacturing business pulled in €837 million ($986 million) in 2020, up 6.6% on the year prior.

According to the firm’s annual report, “Boehringer Ingelheim covers the entire biopharmaceutical value chain, from development of the production cell (mammalian cells as well as microorganisms) and the production process, to the manufacture of the active substance and the finished pharmaceutical product, to product launch and global market supply.”

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The unit has mammalian cell culture plants in Biberach (Germany), Shanghai (China), and Fremont (US), along with a microbial plant in Vienna (Austria). The report states 12 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies are clients and that in 2020 capacity utilization of the network’s industrial-scale production facilities “remained at a very high level.”

To keep up with demand, 2020 saw significant capital expenditure in the firm’s CDMO network. This included a €300 million investment in Vienna, and a €70 million investment in a development center for biopharmaceutical medicines (BDC) at the Biberach site.

According to a Boehringer Ingelheim spokesman, the Vienna CAPEX forms part of plans to construct a large-scale cell culture production facility and represents the “single largest capital investment in our company’s history” – a €500 million project announced in 2015, increased to €700 million two years later. (The video below was taken from BPI Europe 2017 and shows the proposed facility in Vienna)

The investment is “crucial to expanding and strengthening our biopharmaceuticals network and will enable us to respond to the rapidly growing demand,” he told us.

“Despite the impact of COVID-19; the mechanical completion was finished in the summer 2020 to demonstrate sterility,” he continued, adding: “We are planning to celebrate its inauguration in the fall of 2021.”

Meanwhile, the €70 million investment in Germany last year forms part of a €300 million project at Biberach.

“The BDC will serve as a new development hub for biopharmaceutical compounds,” the spokesman said. “We will start with the trial operation phase at the BDC in early 2022.”

For the full year 2020, the private drugmaker reported net sales of €19.6 billion, up 3% year-on-year.

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