WuXi Vaccines buys Harbour BioMed China facility

The manufacturing facility in Suzhou, China will support vaccine development and production for its global partners, says WuXi Vaccines.

Contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) WuXi Vaccines says the facility acquired from Harbour BioMed will be its first standalone vaccine development and production plant located in China.

“Safe and effective vaccines play an increasingly important role in preventive healthcare,” Jian Dong, CEO of WuXi Vaccines told us.

“There is increasing demand for vaccines CDMO services from our global clients as well as clients from China. A facility in China will enable us to serve both global clients and clients from China. We have been looking for the opportunities to acquire facilities globally, not just in China.”

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According to the CDMO, the 8,500 square meter Suzhou facility includes numerous 250 L, 500 L, and 1000 L single-use bioreactors as well as sterile drug product production lines. Furthermore, the company says that the facility will be renovated in order to support vaccine development and manufacturing services for its global partners and customers.

“We’re providing development and manufacturing services for 17 clients’ 38 vaccine CDMO projects, including viral vaccines, recombinant protein vaccines and RNA vaccines. The business volume and the progress of clients’ projects has reached a point that a new vaccine facility is needed. A dedicated vaccines facility will allow us to provide more flexible and comprehensive CDMO services for our clients. Besides, it would be more cost-effective and time-saving for us to acquire a facility,” said Dong.

500 members of staff are anticipated to be working at the Suzhou facility. Dong told this publication that WuXi Vaccines expects “to provide manufacturing services for drug substance and clinical/small to medium commercial drug product at this facility in 2023. The large-scale commercial drug product manufacturing of lyophilization in vials is expected to launch by the end of 2024.”

This is not the first deal between the two firms. In June 2018, WuXi Biologics partnered with Harbour BioMed to develop and manufacture Harbour’s heavy chain only anitbody (HCAb) with an aim of supporting its products for clinical trials under IND applications in China and other parts of the world.

WuXi Vaccines is a subsidiary of WuXi Biologics formed in May 2019 to service a Letter of Intent (LOI) inked with an undisclosed multinational vaccine company said to be worth more than $3 billion.

The CDMO announced its plans to build a $240 million three-storey manufacturing facility in Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland in November 2019. At the time, the site was dubbed the biggest construction site in Ireland. Last month, the Dundalk vaccine manufacturing facility reached its mechanical completion.