The facility – in Billingham, Teeside – has been providing microbial contract manufacturing services for more than a decade. In April FujiFilm announced its intention to begin mammalian cell-based biopharmaceutical production at the site to gain a “larger slice of the market.”
The now operational manufacturing area houses two Xcellerex single-use bioreactors – one 200L capacity and one 1000L capacity – according to spokeswoman Bridget Hall who told BioPharma-Reporter.com the CMO already has experience using the systems.
“We have installed Xcellerex single-use systems at the Billingham site, as this will give us common equipment with our sister site in Research Triangle Park, NC, US.
She added that: “The build quality of the Xcellerex system is taken to be high and is an attractive feature of the system, and allows for flexibility and scale-up across the whole range, as well as ease of expansion.”
Fujifilm plans to add a 2000L capacity bioreactor sometime next year and is likely to choose an Xcellerex system Hall said, explaining that “It would make technical and operational sense to use the same system for 2000L scale-up.”
The site will also have cell line development capabilities for customers according to Hall, who added that: “The services are aimed mainly at clients starting pre-clinical development and as such we are able to offer two CHO based cell lines.”
Cell banking business
The new facility also houses a cell banking facility, which has been operational since April this year for commercial reasons as Hall explained.
“The cell banking facility is a small section of the new Mammalian facility it was just completed and operational earlier than the rest of the facility so we could commence business.
“The manufacturing facility contains the cell growth and production suites, including downstream processing and buffer make up and hold areas.”