Thermo Fisher $50m spend to support high single-use uptake

Single-use adoption has gone from niche applications to standard practice in biomanufacturing says Thermo Fisher, which is expanding its disposable capabilities.

Thermo Fisher has laid down plans to expand its bioproduction equipment capacity through a $50 million (€45 million) investment on the back of growing demand for its single-use bioprocess container (BPC) systems.

“The majority of our 2019 investment will be across our SUT [single-use technology] network in the US, and nearly $10 million will be spent specifically at our site in Cramlington, UK,” Cory Stevenson, president of Bioproduction for Thermo Fisher Scientific, told Bioprocess Insider.

Thermo Scientific BioProcess Containers for HyPerforma Single-Use Mixer. Image: Thermo Fisher

Cramlington will benefit from expanded assembly capacity and additional BPC systems manufacturing capabilities, while the US sites in Logan, Utah, and Millersburg, Pennsylvania will see expanded cleanroom space and related assembly production processes.

Single-use technologies have been fully adopted by biomanufacturers over the past decade, and the increased prevalence of such systems in both clinical development and commercial-scale production drove the investments, Stevenson said.

“While we saw early adopters with biotech companies and CDMOs, today the demand spans all sizes of customers in all regions of the world and across upstream and downstream bioprocessing applications.

“Much of the demand is with the goal of speed in process development. Single-use has moved from niche applications in specific unit operations in biomanufacturing, to now becoming standard practice in our industry.”

The $50 million investment is likely to create numerous jobs across the various sites.

Returns for vendors

According to Stevenson, Thermo Fisher itself is at the forefront of developing and supplying single-use technologies to the bioprocessing industry.

“We continue our leadership by investing in our internal capabilities and working closely with our customers at their sites to better understand their needs and identify opportunities for further development and application. We believe the growth in demand we are seeing for our products reflects our industry-leading global manufacturing, commercial and technical capabilities.”

Across the bioprocess landscape, vendors have been reporting high growth on the back of disposable manufacturing technologies. Rival vendors Pall, Sartorius and MilliporeSigma regularly report high-single or double-digit growth in their quarterly financial results due to the uptake of single-use systems, and there seems little slowdown.