AstraZeneca snaps up second Amgen biologics plant in Colorado

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Image: iStock/AlexRaths
Image: iStock/AlexRaths

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AstraZeneca says it will use the acquired plant as a warehouse to support biomanufacturing operations at a nearby facility, previously purchased from Amgen.

Last year​, AstraZeneca snapped up the LakeCentre facility in Boulder, Colorado three years after Amgen halted operations as part of a cost-saving network optimisation programme.

A second Colorado site in Longmont was also put up for sale by Amgen, and yesterday AstraZeneca confirmed it is the buyer of the 692,000 sq ft site.

We will use the Longmont facility as a warehouse to support the biologics manufacturing in Boulder, Colorado,”​ AstraZeneca spokeswoman Abigail Bozarth told Biopharma-Reporter.

No additional decisions have been taken by AstraZeneca for product placement or investment at this time.  However, the Longmont site has the capability and infrastructure needed to support our exciting future product portfolio.”

She did not disclose how much AstraZeneca paid Amgen for the site, but local news outlet the Longmont Times-Call​ claims the Anglo-Swedish pharma firm paid $64.5m (€58m),​ over $20m less than the estimated asking price​.

The site itself comprises of six buildings across 70 acres of land a central utility plant, a manufacturing building, a quality control lab and admin building, a process development and analytical science lab, a central warehouse, and an office block.

Amgen had dedicated the facility to make its anaemia drug Epogen (epoetin alfa), but in February 2014 the firm announced it was suspending all manufacturing operations as it had enough Epogen to satisfy demand.

Bozarth said that while there would be minimal jobs created in the short-term, “the growth in jobs will come as we decide how best to invest in the infrastructure needed to support our biologics pipeline.”

Network building

On top of bolt-on acquisitions, AstraZeneca has been building its biomanufacturing footprint through heavy investments in its own infrastructure over the past few years.

Construction of a $285m single-use biologics plant at its Södertälje, Sweden site began in May 2015​, while six months earlier​ the firm invested more than $200m at its site in Frederick, Maryland.

Adding this site to our existing operations network will provide AstraZeneca and MedImmune, our global biologics research and development arm, with flexible biological manufacturing capacity to quickly bring new innovative treatments to patients as needed,” ​Bozarth told us.

Excluding the latest Amgen plant, the firm has 29 production facilities in 17 countries, six of which are focused on biologics: Nijmegen, Netherlands; Liverpool, UK; Frederick, US; Philadelphia, US; Boulder, US; and the site in Sweden.

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