Thermo Fisher shells out $76m to expand NY cell culture media site

The $76 million investment will increase the cell culture media manufacturing site in Grand Island, New York, which Thermo says is critical to produce vaccines and biologic therapies.

The $76 million funding is part of a long-term $650 million investment the firm announced last March and Thermo Fisher Scientific said it aims to meet global demand for cell culture media by expanding its dry powder media manufacturing plant in Grand Island.

“Our expanded Grand Island site represents a significant milestone in our investment to double our total manufacturing capacity by the end of 2023,” said Kate Torchilin, president, biologicals and chemicals, Thermo Fisher Scientific.

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“Cell culture media is an integral part of any process to produce a biologic therapy or vaccine and an essential factor in cell viability, performance, and yield. Yet, culture media are the most complex of bioprocessing essentials. Some include 50 or more different nutrient components. Media comes in liquid and powdered formulations, and are designed to promote cell growth and proliferation. Biomanufacturers have a number of factors to evaluate when determining the format most suited for their process,” Torchilin told BioProcess Insider.

The expansion will see the firm add over 45,000 square-foot of Animal Origin Free (AOF) production space. Additionally, Thermo will implement its Advanced Granulation Technology (AGT) format and different AOF Dry Powder Media (DPM) products.

The company claims the expansion will provide capacity to support worldwide supply of media, as well as advancing the site’s capabilities to manufacture materials and technology required for the creation of commercial manufacturing of vaccines and biologics.

Furthermore, as the site has doubled its manufacturing, process, and equipment capabilities, Grand Island has the potential to provide “production redundancy” and shorter product manufacturing lead times for its clients.

The Grand Island site has 1,600 people employed at the site and the expansion is expected to add around 100 members of staff across operations, manufacturing, R&D, operations, HR, engineering, and maintenance.

“Thermo Fisher has a strong brand in western New York as a top employer in the area,” said Torchilin.

“Our multipronged approach to build our diverse workforce includes partnerships with local colleges and employment organizations, engaging at job fairs and a robust Colleague Referral Program. Our commitment to creating a fantastic employee experience is a major reason we continue to be a top destination for the best talent in the industry.”

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