Evaluating the Pieces in Big Pharma's Manufacturing Investments

The pharmaceutical majors target biologics and emerging markets in their manufacturing expansion activities and plans.
Aug 02, 2013
Volume 37, Issue 8

Günay Mutlu/Getty Images
The pharmaceutical majors target biologics and emerging markets in their manufacturing expansion activities and plans.

Restructuring and manufacturing rationalization have been the recent norm for large bio/pharmaceutical companies. Despite such cost-cutting, particularly in small-molecule API and solid-dosage operations, there are some bright spots. A review of leading companies (see Tables I and II) show key trends. Several Big Pharma players are investing in biologic drug-substance, vaccine, and parenteral drug manufacturing and are also making select investments in emerging markets.

Company activity
Pfizer. Pfizer is investing $130 million in two of its Irish manufacturing sites: $100 million at its Grange Castle site in Dublin and $30 million in the Ringaskiddy site in Cork, according to a July 11, 2013 press release from IDA Ireland, Ireland’s industrial development agency. The $100-million investment in Grange Castle is for additional mammalian-cell manufacturing capacity with the addition of a new production line, scheduled to be operational in 2015, when the first process validation batches will be made. In 2011, Pfizer invested $200 million in the Grange Castle site to develop a new suite to expand the manufacturing process for an invasive pneumococcal vaccine, according to IDA.

Bristol-Myers Squibb. Bristol-Myers Squibb is spending approximately $250 million to expand its large-scale biologics manufacturing facility in Devens, Massachusetts. The expansion will introduce biologics development and clinical-trial manufacturing capabilities to the site while adding approximately 350 employees. The Devens site is home to the company’s large-scale bulk biologic manufacturing facility. Construction of the Devens site was completed in 2009. It was the company’s largest single capital investment ($750 million) and provided the company with large-scale bulk biologics production capacity. In May 2012, the company received FDA approval to manufacture its arthritis drug Orencia (abatacept) at the Devens facility. The new $250-million investment will be used to construct two new buildings: one for process development and one for clinical manufacturing. Together, the two buildings will add approximately 200,000 ft2 of laboratory and office space to the Devens site.

Bristol-Myers Squibb also announced plans to locate a North America Capability Center in Tampa, Florida, according to a July 18, 2013 press release from the Office of the Governor of Florida. The 70,000-ft2 facility will open in January 2014 with approximately 250 employees with plans to add more than 325 additional jobs supporting scientific and technical activities at the site by 2017.

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