New Fujifilm site will cater to cell culture media market demands in China

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/elkor
© GettyImages/elkor

Related tags Fujifilm Irvine Scientific Cell culture media cell and gene therapy Vaccines

Fujifilm Irvine Scientific, Inc, is to build a new bioprocessing center in China, with the goal of ensuring local cell culture media optimization support for vaccines, advanced therapies, and biotherapeutic drug development.

Construction has begun, with the build set to be completed by March 2022.

Fujifilm noted the rapid growth in China’s biopharmaceutical, vaccine, cell and gene therapy markets over the past 10 years, and, with that, an expanding market for cell culture media.

It is also set to increase its sales and technical support staff throughout China to meet development needs.

The new center will be located in Suzhou New District industrial park, located in the west of Suzhou, Jiangsu province. The facility is set to incorporate advanced cell culture automation and analysis into process and media development to enable highly accurate evaluation and identification of optimal upstream cell culture processes, said the developer.

Researchers and drug manufacturers require high-performing, safe, and reliable bioprocesses to drive down the cost of therapeutics, said the company, a subsidiary of Tokyo, Japan headquartered Fujifilm Corporation. 

European cell culture media hub

Fujifilm Irvine has been steadily focused on increasing the company’s production capacity for cell culture media products.

In September, it announced it had started the commissioning phase of its new 250,000 square feet (22,800 square meter) cell culture media manufacturing facility in Tilburg, the Netherlands. That site adds to existing operations in Japan and the US and will be a vital hub for European markets; it offers more local supply, and savings on shipping costs.

Kevin Kolell, director of strategic marketing, Fujifilm Irvine, told BioPharma-Reporter then: "Cell culture media is a critical raw material for biologics and we saw a need to provide easier, more cost-effective access to biopharmaceutical, vaccine, cell and gene therapy markets.

"Reliable, rapid, cost-effective delivery is critical to our customers. The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have forced companies around the world to examine their raw material supply chain. With the new manufacturing facility in Tilburg, our European customers will have the media they need produced locally and easily obtainable through ground transport. This also reduces time and cost of delivery compared to shipping overseas. The reduction of cost will be most significant for bulk liquids.

"Building a local manufacturing facility offers redundancy in the supply chain that helps to ensure continuity, as well as enables us to provide customers with faster response times and increased flexibility for a wide variety of production timelines and product needs."

The facility will follow current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) and will manufacture dry powder media, liquid media, buffers, and Water for Injection (WFI) as per quality system, raw materials, and expertise used in its facilities in the US and Japan.

CDMO investment 

Looking at other developments in Fujifilm's pharma business portfolio, its CDMO arm, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies., confirmed, on December 1, a £400m (US$530m) planned investment package at its UK facility in Billingham, Teesside.

The planned outlay will more than double the site’s existing development and manufacturing footprint, creating the largest multi-modal biopharmaceutical manufacturing site in the UK. It is expected to create up to 350 jobs and be operational by late 2023.

The new multi-modal campus will include two a viral gene therapy GMP2 facility and a GMP mammalian cell culture facility; those developments are part of a ¥90 Billion Yen (approx. US$800m) global capital investment package initially outlined by Fujifilm Corporation in June 2021.

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