Catalent adds early-stage plant to its blooming(ton) fill/finish business

CDMO Catalent says it is looking to serve fill and finish demand for early-phase customers in its $14 million acquisition of a second facility in Bloomington, Indiana.

Three years after AB BioTechnologies broke ground on a 23,000 square-foot facility, fellow contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Catalent has acquired it for $14 million – $3.5 million more than the 2017 investment.

The facility adds clinical and small-scale commercial manufacturing for injectable drugs to Catalent’s growing fill and finish network and is located approximately three miles north of its main campus in Bloomington, Indiana.

Image c/o Catalent

“With it, Catalent will add a new filling capability to address the needs of customers with small-scale drug product fill/finish requirements. This small-scale line will give customers more opportunities to fill their early-phase clinical batches with rapid changeovers utilizing the already installed Vanrx SA25 filling line,” a Catalent spokesperson told this publication.

The fully enclosed Vanrx filling line consists of the SA25 Aseptic Filling Workcell, Accumulator Workcell, and Lyophilizer Loader Workcell. “This new filling line will also be fully leveraged as part of the company’s OneBio offering, an integrated solution for drug substance and drug product development, manufacturing and clinical supply, enabling faster development timelines to Phase I clinical trials and beyond.”

Catalent will not be taking over any of AB BioTechnolgy’s contracts, it was confirmed.

Bloomington and beyond

Catalent entered the fill/finish space through its acquisition of Cook Pharmica in 2017 for $950 million. The deal came with the 875,000 square-foot Bloomington campus, bolstering its biologics development and biomanufacturing capabilities, and adding fill-finish capabilities. In 2018, the CDMO laid down plans to double fill/finish capacity at the site through a $100 million investment.

“By the end of 2021, the main Bloomington facility will have high-speed filling capacity across three vial lines, two syringe lines, and one flexible line capable of filling vials, syringes, or cartridges,” we were told.

“The second, recently acquired, Bloomington facility will increase capacity marginally, but its small-scale flexible filling line’s primary focus is on adding flexibility for our customers’ early-phase clinical filling needs including vials, syringes, or cartridges. Overall vial capacity at the two sites depends on the mix of products being produced, but is around 245 million units per annum.”

The firm also has a sterile product manufacturing and packaging facility in Anagni, Italy acquired from Bristol-Myers Squibb in June 2019.

“Catalent Biologics has significant clinical and commercial fill/finish experience with over 35 commercially-approved products across its sites in Europe and the US,” the spokesperson said.

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