Scorpion Biological Services to create new Kansas biomanufacturing facility

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

The new $650m commercial biomanufacturing facility in Manhattan, Kansas, will cover 500,000 sq ft
The new $650m commercial biomanufacturing facility in Manhattan, Kansas, will cover 500,000 sq ft

Related tags anthim Anthrax Us

CDMO Scorpion Biological Services will build a new biodefense-focused large molecule and biologics biomanufacturing facility in Manhattan, Kansas.

The $650m commercial-scale facility will provide 144,000 liters of biomanufacturing capacity across 48 bioreactors. It will be created via a partnership with a private developer, the State of Kansas, and local and university affiliates.

One of the roles of the site will be to help scale production of anthim, an antitoxin against anthrax. Production of anthim is set to start in 2024 with the whole facility completed by April 2027.

Building the Strategic National Stockpile 

After a search across 23 states, the Manhattan, Kansas site was chosen largely as a result of the city’s concentration of biodefense organizations, including Kansas State University’s Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) and the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) — the US government’s agricultural biothreat research laboratory.

One of the facility’s goals will be to help scale production of Anthim (oblitoxaximab), a monoclonal antibody approved by the FDA in 2016 which could be employed in defense against a potential anthrax attack.

To meet Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and Department of Defense requirements for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), Scorpion intends to start manufacturing Anthim by mid-2024.

As such, the company is planning a phased building approach to complete the production train for Anthim first; then complete a new train every 15 months thereafter.

The facility is being designed to be as flexible and versatile as possible. The majority of the facility will be dedicated to commercial CDMO services, but the company is exploring the design of trains focused on other products for the SNS, among others, given that 70% of the drug products in the SNS will expire over the next four years.

The facility will contain single-use bioreactors and stainless steel production tanks. Texas-headquartered Scorpion commits to prioritizing American-made and sourced equipment, reagents and materials: and in Manhattan this will start with the installation of Pall bioreactors. 

David Halverson, President of Scorpion, said: “We are very excited to break ground on this new facility. There is a strong demand for world-class biomanufacturing, which we expect to continue well into the future. The 500,000 square foot Manhattan facility is being designed to service up to 144,000 liters across 48 bioreactors –– powered by an excellent Kansas workforce.

"We're looking forward to rapidly growing and expanding Scorpion, and Manhattan is the perfect location for our newest facility.”

Scorpion anticipates that the facility will have a billion-dollar impact on the State of Kansas, and employ over 500 individuals, largely from the local Kansas talent pool. The company has begun a project to transfer bioprocessing programs from Texas A&M to Kansas State University and the Manhattan Area Technical College at the associate, bachelor, and graduate level to help train Scorpion’s future workforce.

The design and engineering of the facility is being led by CRB Group, a nationally recognized firm focused on designing and building biomanufacturing facilities. Realty Trust Group (RTG), a leading healthcare / life sciences real estate advisory and development firm, is serving as the lead developer on the project.

The Manhattan facility will join Scorpion's biomanufacturing and bioanalysis facility in San Antonio.

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