Lithuanian CDMO Northway invests $40m in MA plant

Northway will open a facility in Waltham offering microbial and mammalian cell line development and upstream and downstream process advancement.

The contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) headquartered in Vilnius, Lithuania opened its doors to international ministers for a tour of its 30,000 square foot sister facility in Waltham, which is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2022.

“We selected Waltham because of its close proximity to the Boston biotech cluster, one of the premier global life sciences hubs in the United States and a plethora of local start-ups who can benefit from our services,” CEO of Northway Vladas Bumelis told us.

“Waltham also provides the additional benefits of readily available transportation, affordable housing, a strong workforce and space to build this new, state-of-the-art facility.”

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According to the CDMO, the facility will include R&D labs and stainless-steel and single-use systems for upstream and downstream process development, as well as formulation, and fill-finish services for microbial and mammalian cell culture products, which can be used to develop recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Northway claims the site meets GMP requirements established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The site will create around 50 jobs and Bumelis said “In terms of recruitment, we have utilized a variety of resources, including recruiters, staffing agencies, the Massachusetts Biotech Council and even our own personal connections. So far, we have been fortunate to attract a number of talented individuals who are eager to join us from the beginning and continue to grow with us.”

Furthermore, the firm said the facility’s flexible design and infrastructure will allow for acceleration, formulation, and production of different clients’ antibodies and proteins, alongside aseptic drug product manufacturing capabilities, which it hopes will add value to projects from a cost and time perspective.

Life sciences in Lithuania

Northway were keen to add that they are part of Lithuania’s expanding life science sector, which, according to Innovation Agency Lithuania, is growing at the fastest rate in the European Union. The Baltic state also boasts an unsaturated talent pool, with Invest Lithuania telling BioProcess insider that it has “A pool of highly skilled and motivated talent ready to create added value for your business.”

OECD Employment, 2020 Lithuania reported the country has a large academically trained population and the highest employment rate of tertiary-educated young adults in the European Union (EU) at 90%.