Evotec to settle on Seattle for first commercial J.POD facility

Six months on from acquiring Just.Bio, Germany’s Evotec has laid plans to build its first US-based commercial biologics modular facility in Seattle.

German R&D firm Evotec jumped into the biologics manufacturing space in May 2019 through the $90 million acquisition (€82 million) of Just.Bio.

The offerings gained from Just.Bio include a large molecule manufacturing design platform known as J.DESIGN, and a lab and computational tool for rapid development of a high-yielding manufacturing process called JP3.

Image: iStock/welcomia

Evotec also gained a cGMP manufacturing platform called J.POD, and while an early-stage clinical production facility in Seattle, Washington is already operational, Evotec has been vocal about expand the J.POD platform into commercial manufacturing.

And now, the firm has confirmed the location of that J.POD will be in the Seattle area, management said on its third quarter 2019 call this week.

Chief operating officer Craig Johnstone said the decision to expand in Seattle – “if and when we go ahead” – will be because of the skills and knowledge in the region.

“And in terms of timeline,” he continued, “we’re working very carefully through the detailed plan, we will come back with details of that before the end of the year.”

Decisions need to also be made in the capacity of the new plant, and at what rate it should be installed, which will drive the necessary CAPEX transactions Werner Lanthaler, Evotec CEO, added.

“That will be concluded as a full package of work by the end of this year and then we will give clear CAPEX and cost guidance by the beginning of 2020 latest,” he told stakeholders.

But “even in the most aggressive plans” he said “are already easily fully financed with the cash at hand at Evotec and therefore we feel very comfortable to go full speed here, without any external financing needed for anything that we plan to do there.”