Fujifilm continues to expand its biologics CDMO business, ploughing further $850m into US and UK sites

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/primeimages
© GettyImages/primeimages

Related tags: bioreactor, Cell culture, recombinant

Fujifilm Corporation has made an additional US$850m investment to enable the expansion of its BIO-CMDO sites in the UK, at Billingham, and in the US.

This latest investment package is aimed at accelerating the growth of its subsidiary, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies (FDB), a biologics targeted contract manufacturing and development organization (CDMO).

This financing brings the total investments made by Fujifilm in that subsidiary since 2011 to US$5.5B (¥600 Billion Yen).

This recently announced capital outlay will be used to increase capacity for biologics including recombinant vaccines for COVID-19, and advanced gene therapies in the UK and the US. 

The expansion projects, set to be completed in 2023, will see cell culture production for recombinant vaccines doubled in the US. In the UK, gene therapy production will be increased ten-fold, cell culture capacity will be tripled and microbial fermentation output at the existing 5,000L scale facility will be doubled.

The UK site cell culture expansion will also include cGMP capacity for continuous manufacturing, while process and analytical development capacity will also be strategically added as part of this investment package, said the Tokyo headquartered company.

Cell culture manufacturing

FDB is also in the process of building a new cell culture manufacturing facility in North Carolina, in the US. It is expected to begin operations in 2025 and generate 725 jobs by the end of 2028.

The project was announced in January 2021 and the location confirmed two months later. The Japanese conglomerate is investing US$2bn in the build.

Located near FDB’s existing facility, the idea is that the plant would become an end-to-end single-site solution. It would offer large-scale cell culture manufacturing of bulk drug substance with eight 20,000L bioreactors, with the potential to expand and add a further 24 bioreactors of that volume based on market demand.

Targets

Market growth for CDMO services, including outsourcing process development, analytical development, bulk drug substance manufacturing, fill/finish and finished goods production, is expected to continue due to the hike in demand for biotherapeutics such as antibodies, gene therapies and vaccines against infectious diseases, noted Fujifilm.

The company has set a target to achieve an annual revenue of US$2bn for its bio-CDMO business by March 2025.

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