Fujifilm: Latest $1.6bn spend to help quadruple CDMO’s mammalian capacity

Another $1bn+ investment boost, this time at sites in Denmark and Texas, will push Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies into the top tier of CDMOs based on cell culture capacity.

The $1.6 billion will be used to expand cell culture manufacturing capabilities at contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Fujifilm’s Hillerød facility in Denmark and across the Atlantic at its single-use campus in College Station, Texas.

“Currently, the market for antibody drugs is expected to grow at an annual rate of over 10%. We see healthy pipeline of products that will need access to this level of capacity in the coming years,” Fujifilm spokeswoman Christine Jackman told Bioprocess Insider.

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’ plant in Hillerod, Denmark. Image c/o Google

“To meet these needs, Fujifilm is increasing the production capacity of antibody drugs by strengthening the large-scale production facilities that supports batch production methods and the deployment of the continuous production system.”

The Hillerød site – acquired from Biogen in 2019 for $890 million and already undergoing a $928 million expansion to add 120,000 L of stainless-steel mammalian capacity – will undergo an expansion to add a further 8 x 20,000L bioreactors and two downstream processing streams. When operational in 2026, the site will boast 400,000 L of bioreactor capacity making it the largest CDMO in Europe.

“The first large-scale capital investment announced in June 2020 is to build a system that enables end-to-end solutions from bulk drug substance production to fill/finish and finished goods (assembly, labeling and packaging),” Jackman said.

“Today’s capital investment announcement aims to significantly expand the bulk drug substance capacity in order to meet the rapidly growing demand for cell culture manufacturing.”

In Texas, the CDMO will install its automated and customizable technology SymphonX production equipment, enabling cGMP upstream and downstream continuous biomanufacturing. The site is already undergoing a $300 million expansion to add advanced therapy and vaccine production capabilities.

Top tier CDMO

The $1.6 billion expansion comes nine months after Fujifilm broke ground on a ¥200 billion ($1.8 billion) greenfield facility in Holly Springs, North Carolina, set to offer a further 160,000 L of biomanufacturing capacity when operational in 2025.

When these CAPEX projects are complete, Fujifilm Diosynth will quadruple its current global mammalian capacity from 143,150 L to 591,650 L. The CDMO’s current microbial capacity is 16,450 L but this will grow to 20,420 L once previously announced microbial expansions are completed.

As such, the firm will be among the top pure-play CDMOs based on bioreactor capacity, alongside Lonza, Samsung Biologics, and WuXi Biologics – all of which are undertaking their own expansion projects.

“Fujifilm has strategically and successfully diversified its business and sees healthcare as a key growth pillar for the future, with bio-CDMO as a core focus,” Jackman said.

“For Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, our aim is to position ourselves as a CDMO that is agile and has the ability to provide long-term support to our customers in the biopharmaceutical industry across a full range of modalities, complex processes, and manufacturing scales to deliver tomorrow’s medicines.”