Originally, CSL Behring had decided to build the Lengnau production facility to manufacture its own recombinant coagulating factors, among other products. Work on the site began in 2014 and the initial estimate of the cost was set at CHF 1bn (€937m).
Yesterday, it was announced that Thermo Fisher Scientific had agreed a long-term lease agreement with CSL that would see the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) takeover operations at the site.
The deal has been reached despite the site not yet being fully operational – according to the companies, the construction will be completed in mid-2021 and the original projections for the facility becoming operational was set between 2022 and 2023.
In terms of scale, the facility will cover 466,000-square-feet, with space for expansion, and house approximately 300 staff members.
As part of the deal, Thermo Fisher will produce CSL’s hemophilia products before expanding to utilize the site to add further biopharma customers.
The site is equipped with single-use and stainless-steel equipment to be able to produce treatments at large-scale.
As to why CSL had decided to lease the facility, Paul McKenzie, chief operating officer at CSL, explained, “As part of the CSL board of directors' strategic review, we are in the process of transforming our end-to-end supply chain with a view to ensuring the company's global manufacturing network is operating at a best-in-class level.”
He continued to say that this would see the biotech balance internal investment with access to ‘capabilities and capacities’ that are available through working with a CDMO, such as Thermo Fisher.
For the CDMO, the facility adds an additional location to its European network, as well as continues its strategic push to invest more funds into the biologics side of its business – which saw it commit to invest $475m in biopharma operations during 2020.