COVID catalyst: MilliporeSigma expedites $30m French expansion

MilliporeSigma has accelerated plans to add a single-use assembly production unit at its site in Molsheim, France on the back of COVID-19 demand.

The $30 million injection at the site, just west of Strasbourg, will add 18,300 square feet of cleanroom space to produce MilliporeSigma’s Mobius single-use assemblies for use in the production of both COVID-19 vaccines and other therapies. The expansion will generate more than 350 jobs.

The facility will become the first European site to make the single-use offering and comes on the back of other single-use capacity expansions across MilliporeSigma’s production network.

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“In Molsheim, capacity will increase in several phases,” MilliporeSigma spokeswoman Karen Tiano told BioProcess Insider. “By the end of this year, we expect to add approximately five percent additional capacity. By mid-2023, when reaching full capacity, we expect to add approximately 50 percent additional capacity.”

The firm recently began a $25 million investment at its site in Danvers, Massachusetts, to add 65,000 square feet of space for single-use assembly production. This, according to Tiano, has allowed the firm to double its production capacity.

“In 2021, we anticipate moving from producing 300,000 single-use plastic assemblies to 600,000 assemblies used in the development and manufacturing of vaccines and other life-saving therapies.”

The investments – along with an expansion in Jaffray, New Hampshire, which makes single-use components and filtration equipment – have been driven by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but were always on the cards.

“This expansion was in the works for some time, but the pandemic accelerated our plans,” according to Tiano.

Bioprocess vendors have been some of the beneficiaries of COVID-19 as demand for their equipment and consumables skyrockets as vaccines and therapies speed through the clinic. This is on the back of continued double-digit growth in the sector for the best part of a decade.

Thus, the acceleration of CAPEX plans by MilliporeSigma reflect others in the space. Cytiva, for example, has sped up $500 million of spending on the back of demand.