The expansion project will see Catalant transfer biologics manufacturing operations – which are based on its GPEx cell line engineering technology - from its existing its facility in Middleton, Wisconsin to a new, larger plant in neighbouring Madison.
Facility general manager Mike Jenkins told Outsourcing-pharma.com the move will increase Catalent’s cell line engineering capacity, explaining that: “We have seen tremendous growth in the number of customers choosing GPEx technology to advance their projects.”
“We are hiring approximately 60 incremental headcount some of which have already been hired,” he explained, adding that “we are looking for people experienced in cell line engineering, mammalian cell line process development, purification, QA, QC, and cGMP manufacturing.”
The move follows just a few months after Catalent partnered with Japan’s Toyobo biologics in a bid to increase sales of its cell line technology to manufacturers in the world’s second biggest pharmaceutical market.
Contract biologics production
Contract manufacturer interest in biologics – and hence competition - has increased markedly of late with existing players like ShangPharma, Lonza and DSM all bolstering their offerings in the area.
Others like Cobra Biologics, Gallus BioPharmaceuticals, CMC biologics and Angel Biotechnology have also added biologics production capacity through facility expansions, acquisitions and joint-venture partnerships.
And, more recently, companies outside the CMO sector have begun to take an interest with Fujifilm and – just this week – Samsung both moving to strengthen their presence in the biomanufacturing industry.
However, Catalent is confident that its cell line technology, combined with the additional capacity that comes with the expansion, will give it the edge over the competition according to Jenkins.
“There are lots of companies offering mammalian cell culture contract manufacturing; we differ in that we offer the best mammalian cell line engineering technology. We offer solutions, not just capacity.
“Our GPEx technology offers a solution that all the companies above should be using. Our recent partnership with Toyobo Biologics in Japan is just one example of our flexible approach to provide solutions globally to our customers.”