Novartis injects €150m in Austrian biologics fill/finish facility

By Dan Stanton contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sandoz boosts biosimilars with €150m biosimilar fill/finish plant
The €150m ($172m) investment has added extra capacity to Novartis’s biosimilar and proprietary biologics network.

Novartis has invested over €2.2bn in its Austria over the past 20 years, and this latest investment adds a fill/finish facility to support its biomanufacturing operations.

“BioInject will be used for fill, finish and packaging of both Sandoz’ biosimilars as well as Novartis’s novel biologics,”​ a spokesman for the Novartis subsidiary Sandoz told Biopharma-Reporter.com.

“It will also add new in-house capabilities for Sandoz and Novartis in terms of device manufacturing,”​ he added.

At full capacity the plant will be able to fill around 18,000 syringes per hour and the specific products filled were not disclosed, we were told the site will be supplied with Sandoz biosimilar APIs and the finished products will be dispatched globally.

“We have our primary API manufacturing in Kundl, Schaftenau - both Austria - and in Menges, Slovenia.”

Novartis employs 4,600 staff in Austria, and this new facility will create around 100 new skilled jobs.

In-house biomanufacturing

Earlier this month​, Sandoz made history becoming the first company to launch a biosimilar in the US. Zarxio is a version of Amgen’s Neupogen (filgastrim) now available in the US at a wholesale discount of around 15%.

While the firm could not share further details about its manufacturing footprint, we were told that Sandoz leverages the “very strong in-house capabilities in biologics manufacturing”​ of its parents company. Novartis recently invested $500m​ in a cell-culture based plant in Singapore.

Last year, Novartis head of global tech, Juan Andres, spoke to delegates at a financial conference in London and explained the firm’s strategy of keeping the majority of its complex, biomanufacturing in-house.

“[Biologics] are going to be more problematic to outsource and will require more flexibility,”​ he said, adding the firm would only outsource the “easy side”​ of manufacturing, such as small molecules, generics and OTCs.

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