Manufacturing at the LakeCentre facility in Boulder, Colorado, halted in 2012, with owners Amgen putting it up for sale as part of a cost-saving network optimisation programme.
Rumours in on-line forums have suggested Sandoz and Biogen Idec had been eyeing up the facility, but today AstraZeneca has announced it has acquired the 300,000sq ft site in order to double its US biologics production capacity.
“The addition of the Boulder facility will support the progression of biotech drug candidates across our main therapeutic areas as we continue to bring innovative new treatments to patients,” said Pam Cheng, EVP of Operations and Information Technology at AstraZeneca.
“This site will play an important role in our future commercial production and give AstraZeneca and MedImmune, our global biologics research and development arm, the flexibility and capacity to meet the needs of our rapidly growing biologics portfolio.”
The company will commence refurbishment of the plant immediately, and plans to begin commercial production by the end of 2017. Up to 400 skilled jobs could be created through the acquisition.
According to Amgen’s annual reports, the LakeCentre site had been used for clinical and bulk manufacturing of a number of its biological products, though not for its blockbuster products: Neulasta, Neupogen, Enbrel, Aranesp or Epogen.
Amgen announced last year that the nearby Longmont facility – its sole commercial production site for Epogen (epoetin alfa) – was to close, and in July contracted real estate firm Binswanger to help sell the plant, priced at $85m.
The acquisition is the latest boost to AstraZeneca’s bioproduction network. In May, the firm announced it was constructing a $285m single-use biomanufacturing plant in Sweden, while last year the firm pumped $200m into its Frederick, Maryland facility to support its biologics pipeline.
Biologics comprise half of the Anglo-Swedish firm’s pipeline, with over 30 in clinical development.