Kyowa Kirin to set up $530 million biologics production facility in North Carolina

By Jonathan Smith

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Biologics Manufacturing Supply chain Pharmacology

Keen to accelerate its drug development, the Japanese pharmaceutical group Kyowa Kirin will pump up to $530 million into building a biologics manufacturing plant in North Carolina, US.

The 15,951-square-meter (171,700-square-foot) plant will be based in Sanford, with the construction expected to kick off in the third quarter of this year. The facility, which will feature two bioreactors, is planned to boost the company’s commercial production and proprietary development of next-generation antibodies and other biologics.

Kyowa Kirin is also setting aside land for future expansion if required, with an overarching goal to strengthen its supply lines amid “global shifting forces,” according to a public release​.

As North Carolina hosts a thriving biotech hub, Kyowa Kirin aims to tap into the rich resources and talent pool in the greater Research Triangle Park region.

“Our North American presence continues to grow through strategic investments that are adding new capabilities, new therapeutic expertise, and new talent to our global organization, all in service of meeting patients’ needs,” stated Steve Schaefer, President, North America at Kyowa Kirin, in the release.

Kyowa Kirin already has manufacturing facilities in places including Takasaki City and Ube City in Japan, with the latest US project adding to its network. In particular, the company plans to scale the upcoming Sanford facility with its Takasaki plant to easily transfer its technology and improve its production capacity.

The firm saw a revenue growth of 12 billion yen in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year, according to its financial results report​. This was partly driven by revenue growth of the medicines Crysvita, Poteligeo and Nesp, in addition to other factors including upfront payments from Boehringer Ingelheim and revenue from Orchard Therapeutics, which was acquired by the Japanese company in 2023.

Kyowa Kirin’s move comes as several large manufacturers are also investing big in facilities, with examples including Bionova Scientific’s recent expansion​ into plasmid DNA production and Fujifilm Corporation’s $1.2 billion investment​ into its biomanufacturing facility in Holly Springs, North Carolina, with the total investment in its project surpassing $3.2 billion.

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