Fujifilm pumps $111m into its US biologics and stem cell network

Fujifilm Corporation will increase capacity at its North Carolina CDMO site to feed demand for mammalian and microbial manufacturing. The firm is also opening a $21m induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell plant in Wisconsin.

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies (FDB), a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) division of Japan’s Fujifilm Corporation, plans to invest JPY 10 billion ($90 million) into its site in Morrisville, North Carolina.

“This expansion is driven by continued demand for our manufacturing capability given that our customer’s portfolios are growing and need both clinical and commercial capacity,” a Fujifilm spokesperson told BioProcess Insider.

Image: iStock/Vladimir Sukhachev

“This investment is also in alignment with Fujifilm Corporation’s announcement to grow its CDMO business to meet a $1 billion sales target by March 2024.”

When Fujifilm rebranded its CDMO business in 2017 it said it hoped to achieve sales of JPY 100 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.

This latest investment will increase cell culture manufacturing capacity by approximately 25% and microbial capacity by approximately 50% in North Carolina through the addition of 2,000 L single use cell culture manufacturing trains, cell culture purification suites and new microbial recovery suites.

According to the spokesperson, FDB’s cell culture upstream manufacturing platform is based on GE Healthcare’s XBR single-use systems.

Induced pluripotent stem cells

Moving over to Wisconsin, another Fujilfilm biopharma subsidiary, Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics Inc (FCDI), has announced an investment of $21 million to open a cGMP-compliant production facility in Madison.

The plant, intended to be operational by March 2020, intends to industrialize human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to support its internal cell therapeutics pipeline as well as for its CDMO clients.

“To meet the growing demand for FCDI’s iPS cell platform, the state-of-the-art production facility will have a flexible cell culturing design to serve production requirements of both industrial quantities of cells, and small, diverse batches,” said Seimi Satake, CEO of FCDI.

“By combining Fujifilm’s experience gleaned from the intricate process of manufacturing photographic film along with FCDI’s knowledge of cell reprogramming, genetic engineering and cell differentiation, the facility is poised to address the complex manufacturing processes of cell therapies.”

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