Agilent predicts $750 million global oligo market by 2025 and ups capacity

Agilent Technologies has announced plans to more than double nucleic acid-based drug production capacity at its facility in Frederick, Colorado.

The research, development and manufacturing company said it will invest $150 million to add 25,000 square feet of capacity.

Agilent cited the growing market for “oligos” as the driver for the investment, predicting it will grow in double digits and be worth more than $750 million by 2025.

Image: iStock/Derek Brumby

Sam Raha, president of Agilent’s Diagnostics and Genomics Group, said, “Adding this higher-volume line enables us to keep pace with demand while continuing to deliver a premium product with superior customer service.”

He expanded on this point in Agilent’s Q3 earnings call, telling analysts “It was just last June that we did a ribbon cutting and starting of the new Frederick, Colorado facility. And quite frankly, we’ve seen demand that exceeded our expectations, just 12 months ago.

“We’re able to do multiple iterations or types of siRNA or RNA. We’re also actively looking at other different versions of molecules that are oligo based,” he said.

Customer base

Agilent mooted an oligo capacity hike last year. In December it cited growth of its nucleic acid based therapeutics services business – which generated sales of $100 million in fiscal 2019 – as the driver for the expansion.

The firm counts Novartis among its oligo customers. The Swiss drug firm’s $9.7 billion acquisition of the Medicines Co in January, added the candidate cholesterol treatment inclisiran to its portfolio.

Last November a Medicines Company spokesman told us inclisiran is made by Agilent at its facility in Boulder, Colorado.

The vast majority of nucleic acid drugs are made by contractors. According to a 2018 KNect365 survey only 18% of developers questioned said manufacturing activity was done internally.

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