MilliporeSigma opens €50m France antibody production plant

The facility in Martillac will make commercial monoclonal antibody drug substance up to 2,000 L and is part of a wider MilliporeSigma investment in France.

In June 2021, MilliporeSigma – the life sciences division of Germany’s Merck KGaA – announced plans to invest €175 million ($174 million) and create 500 jobs at its sites France.

As part of that, a €50 million facility has opened its doors, adding a 2,700 square-meter single-use drug substance plant at the Martillac site, south of Bordeaux, to produce mAbs and other recombinant proteins.

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“The Martillac facility is designed to operate at the highest levels of efficiency and can rapidly pivot from 200 to 2000 liters of drug substance,” the firm said in a press release. “It also features two 2000 L bioreactors in one manufacturing suite to increase capacity and flexibility.”

150 jobs will be created by 2024 at Martillac. A further 350 jobs will be added at MilliporeSigma’s Molsheim site, located west of Strasbourg, which saw a €25 million expansion as part of the June 2021 announcement. The Molsheim site has also been subject to further expansions, including a €130 million boost last month to increase single-use equipment production capacity.

“Merck has already announced expansion projects in its Life Science business sector in Verona and Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA; Cork, Ireland; Wuxi, China; Darmstadt, Germany; Buchs, Switzerland; Carlsbad, California, USA; Jaffrey, New Hampshire, USA; and Danvers, Massachusetts, USA, Molsheim, France, and Shanghai, China,” a spokesperson told us.

“These expansions are part of an ambitious, multi-year program to increase the capacity and capabilities of Merck’s Life Science business sector to support the growing global demand for lifesaving medications and to make significant contributions to public health.”

Y-mAbs

MilliporeSigma named Y-mAbs as one of its customers set to benefit from this increased capacity.

“Our clients are reshaping modern medicine and seek to bring their therapies to patients more rapidly,” we were told. “They are tasked with managing multiple partners, supply chain needs and complex priorities along the drug development lifecycle and often look to an outsourcing partner to help them navigate the complexity.

“We have been working for several years with Y-mAbs Therapeutics. With our support, Y-mAbs has been able to bring its product candidate for pediatric brain cancer to patients in roughly half the time than the approximate 12 years it typically takes to bring a biologic to market. This illustrates the advantages of working an experienced partner possessing the flexibility to tailor production to produce therapies for small and large patient populations.”