Biogen in negotiations to sell 2,000L stainless steel plant in MA

By Dan Stanton contact

- Last updated on GMT

Biogen's site in Cambridge, MA. Image from Biogen
Biogen's site in Cambridge, MA. Image from Biogen

Related tags: Stainless steel, Steel

Biogen will shutter a bioproduction facility in Massachusetts by the end of the year if it fails to find a buyer.

Biogen’s biomanufacturing plant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been put up for sale as part of the company’s focus on optimising its global manufacturing network, a spokesperson told Biopharma-Reporter.com.

“We are currently pursuing a sale of the facility and its capabilities and are in active negotiations. We expect to have a decision by early fall. If a sale is unsuccessful, we intend to close the facility by the end of 2016.”

The facility manufactures several biopharmaceuticals at the site using 2,000L volume stainless steel bioreactors, including the firm’s antihemophilic factor fc fusion protein Eloctate.

We were told there will be no supply chain disruption as the plant it will continue to produce Eloctate through the end of the year at which time production will move to another site.

“We have significantly improved the manufacturing productivity at our facilities over the past several years, enabling us to develop increased quantities of biologics with greater efficiency,”​ the spokesperson said. “As a result of both our diversifying pipeline and enhanced efficiencies, we are able to meet anticipated demand for our 2,000L manufacturing operations - such as the one in Cambridge - in one facility.”

Biogen has two commercial bioproduction plants and a large-scale purification plant in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina, and a 228,000sq ft manufacturing space in Hillerød, Denmark.

“For a variety of manufacturing and operational reasons, maintaining our 2,000L facility in RTP, where we also have large scale manufacturing and clinical manufacturing capability, provides us greater efficiency and flexibility.”

Total capacity across the three sites is 198,000L, but the firm is also constructing a new $1.2bn facility​ in Luterbach, Switzerland which will add a further 144,000L of bioreactor capacity through eight 18,000L stainless steel tanks.

Jobs and spin-outs

The news comes on the back of an announcement last year​ that Biogen was looking to slash its operating costs, through the termination of a number of pipeline programmes and an 11% reduction – around 880 - of its global workforce in an attempt to save $250m annually.

And the closure of the Cambridge plant could contribute a further 285 jobs,

Meanwhile last month​, Biogen laid out plans to spin-out its haemophilia business by early next year, with its current products - including Elocate and Alprolix - supporting its haemophilia pipeline based on gene therapies, longer acting factors and bispecific antibodies.

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