WuXi Biologics adds Bayer drug product plant to growing network

WuXi Biologics has leased a drug product plant in Leverkusen, Germany from Bayer and is in negotiations to continue making hemophilia therapy Kovaltry for the Big Biopharma firm.

The lease agreement – financials of which have not been divulged – gives Chinese contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) WuXi Biologics its first drug product facility outside of Europe.

WuXi Biologics has been rampant in building up its manufacturing network, and while it has so far focused on constructing sites, the addition of the German plant brings a fully-operational facility to its global footprint.

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“We have three drug product manufacturing plants in operation in China,” WuXi Biologics CEO Chris Chen told Bioprocess Insider, but “this deal with Bayer will enable us to have quick access to high quality drug product manufacturing capacities and capabilities.”

“It will not only enhance our commercial manufacturing capacities and capabilities to further penetrate the European market, but also will be used to serve the US market together with our drug substance facility in Ireland.”

WuXi Biologics broke ground on a €325 million ($361 million)  single-use biologics plant in 2018, in County Louth, Ireland – its first production site outside of China. The drugmaker has since expanded into Singapore and the US, and has also announced plans for a $240 million vaccine production plant in Ireland. Moreover, the firm continues to build its Chinese network, based mainly on single-use technologies.

“We launched our ‘Global Dual Sourcing within WuXi Bio’ last year and plan to have multiple drug substance and drug product facilities around the globe,” said Chen.

The number of staff that will be transferred to WuXi firm Bayer remains confidential.

However, WuXi has said it is in negotiations for a manufacturing agreement to provide a back-up for the production of antihemophilic factor (recombinant) Kovaltry (octocog alfa) for the Big Biopharma firm.

The full-length factor VIII compound is approved for the treatment of hemophilia A in children and adults, pulling in €855 million in sales for Bayer in 2018.

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