Amgen begins work on $200m ‘next-gen’ biomanufacturing site

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

A rendering image of the completed facility (Image: Amgen)
A rendering image of the completed facility (Image: Amgen)

Related tags Amgen Rhode Island

Amgen has broken ground on the construction of its West Greenwich, Rhode Island-based 120,000-square-foot biomanufacturing facility.

The plant will cost $200m (€173m) and is slated to be completed in 2020, after plans were announced earlier this year​ due to the capital freed up by US tax reforms.

In the press release​ announcing the beginning of construction, Amgen refers to the facility as “next-generation”​ and so we contacted a spokesperson for the company to find out exactly what that means.

Building upon details revealed in the initial announcement, which noted that it could be built in half of the time of a traditional plant and operate at approximately half of the cost, the spokesperson revealed that the plant would feature: “a highly flexible, modular design which can be replicated in future facilities, and enables Amgen to increase production capabilities reliably with greater speed, productivity and flexibility.”

In fact, the construction of the facility is based on Amgen’s existing biomanufacturing facility in Singapore. The spokesperson stated that this facility boasts the following advantages over standard manufacturing facilities:

  • Next-generation facility size:
    • Approximately 75% size reduction with the same active gram output
  • Speed & Implementation:
    • ¼ capital cost
    • ½ construction time
  • Operability:
    • ½ operating expense
    • Eliminates infrastructure for cleaning and sterilization of ~45 miles of pipe
  • Sustainability:
    • 75% reduction in CO2​ emissions
    • 80% less energy and water consumed

Greater flexibility

One of the advantages of the site is that the equipment within is portable, smaller and disposable, which the spokesperson suggested “provides greater flexibility and speed when manufacturing different drug substances simultaneously”.

“This eliminates costly and complex retrofitting inherent in standard facilities and allows Amgen to respond to changing demands with increased agility,” ​the spokesperson added.

In regards to what products will be produced at the facility, the spokesperson was not able to reveal any details except that the facility would provide for the US and global market.

The new facility will create 150 jobs at the facility in Rhode Island, adding to the current 625 staff members employed at Amgen’s Rhode Island campus. To date, Amgen has invested $1.5 billion on the campus.

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