Big Pharma's Investment in Biologics

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PTSM: Pharmaceutical Technology Sourcing and Management

PTSM: Pharmaceutical Technology Sourcing and Management-05-03-2013, Volume 9, Issue 5

Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, and Roche are among the companies expanding biologic-based manufacturing capacity.

Despite overall manufacturing rationalization in the pharmaceutical/biopharmaceutical industry, the large pharmaceutical companies continue to invest in biologic-based manufacturing. The author provides an update in recent investment activity among the pharmaceutical majors in biologic-drug substance, vaccine, and parenteral drug manufacturing.

Restructuring and manufacturing rationalization have been the order of the day for the large bio/pharmaceutical companies during the past several years. Small-molecule and solid-dosage operations have been the largest target for such cost-cutting, but there are bright spots on the manufacturing investments. Several Big Pharma companies are investing in biologic drug-substance, vaccine, and parenteral drug finished product manufacturing.

Company activity


Bristol-Myers Squibb. Bristol-Myers Squibb is investing 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 to the Devens workforce over time. 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 represented the company’s largest single capital investment ($750 million) and provided Bristol-Myers Squibb 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 on the 89-acre Devens campus: one building for process development and one for clinical manufacturing. Together, the two buildings will add approximately 200,000 ft 2 of laboratory and office space to the Devens site, which is now comprised of six major buildings in a 400,000-ft2