Amgen looks to biologics manufacturing tech to cut carbon emissions

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/ThitareeSarmkasat)
(Image: Getty/ThitareeSarmkasat)

Related tags: Amgen, sustainability, Rhode Island

Amgen commits to next-generation biologics manufacturing technologies in attempt to reduce environmental impact.

In 2008, Amgen set itself targets related to energy, carbon dioxide, water, waste recycling, waste reduction and the fuel efficiency of its US sales flee. Amgen exceeded all of the targets by its 2012 deadline, leading it set itself a fresh set of goals for the next phase of its environmental plan.

The big biotech met most of the targets in 2018, two years ahead of schedule, and completed the set by surpassing its waste reduction objective in 2019. In doing so, Amgen reduced its water use and carbon output from its facilities by more than 10%.

With this done, Amgen is now eyeing its next set of environmental goals. Amgen is yet to set its revised targets but, with the new goals now in development, has outlined how it plans to reduce its impact on the environment.

Talking to investors on Amgen’s fourth quarter results conference call, CEO Bob Bradway put biologic manufacturing at the centre of the next phase of the environmental agenda.

Bradway said, “We are now developing a next set of goals that we will share later this year. These goals will include a further commitment to our next generation manufacturing technologies, which have a much smaller environmental footprint than traditional biologics manufacturing and enable us to operate at a lower cost too​.”

Amgen gave a preview of its plans for a new era of more environmentally friendly drug production in 2018 when it broke ground on a new biologics manufacturing facility​ in Rhode Island, US.

The plant will combine “multiple innovative technologies​” in an attempt to reduce the manufacturing footprint and the amount of water, energy and carbon it uses and emits.

Amgen expects to reap operational and financial benefits from the technologies, predicting the Rhode Island plant will run at half the cost of a traditional manufacturing facility and be able to add new products without undergoing costly and time consuming retrofitting.

Achieving those benefits will entail upfront spending. Peter Griffith, chief financial officer at Amgen, singled out the construction of the Rhode Island facility as a contributor to the $700m (€638m) in capital expenditure that is planned for this year.

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