Fujifilm confirms £400m investment plans at UK biopharma site

Published: 7-Dec-2021

The additional facilities are expected to be operational by late 2023

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, a CDMO for biologics, viral vaccines and viral vectors, has confirmed a £400m ($530m) planned investment package at its UK facility in Billingham, Teesside. The investment is set to more than double the site’s existing development and manufacturing footprint, creating up to 350 highly-skilled jobs. The additional facilities are expected to be operational by late 2023.

The multi-modal campus will include two facilities - a viral gene therapy GMP facility and a GMP mammalian cell culture facility - and is part of a global capital investment package initially outlined by Fujifilm in June 2021. The investment will add a cell culture facility in the expanded Billingham campus and triple existing cell culture capacity capabilities at the site with the addition of 4x2000 L and 2x500 L single use bioreactor production capabilities for the manufacture of both monoclonal and novel antibody treatments. It will also include the addition of the company’s MaruX GMP continuous manufacturing platform.

The investment package will also expand the viral vector and gene therapy services offered by the company with dedicated process development capabilities and a commercial-scale viral gene therapy GMP facility, both located on the Billingham campus. It will also facilitate the expansion of existing capabilities in vaccine manufacturing, along with new capabilities including mRNA production.

Further to this, an expansion of the existing 5000 L GMP microbial production facilities will also take place at the Billingham campus, increasing microbial fermentation capacity by almost two-thirds. The expansion will include more than 20000 sqft of modular downstream cleanroom space, including two primary recovery and refolding suites, two purification suites and a column packing room, and is planned to be operational by late 2023/early 2024.

“We all know that there has never been a more important time to invest in biopharmaceuticals – and £400 million, the largest investment in British biopharmaceutical manufacturing for decades, signals Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’ intent to be able to offer multi-modal options to respond to our customers’ needs with flexibility and agility to help solve public health demands, and deliver the medicines and vaccines of tomorrow,” said Martin Meeson, CEO of Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies. “With a strong growing demand for microbial, cell culture and viral gene therapy services, we are adding the capacity and latest technologies within one campus to offer a range of modalities to build an offering that will deliver novel promising treatments to patients for years to come.”

“I am delighted that Fujifilm has identified the massive potential in the UK for growth and innovation. At £400m, this is a significant investment in British biopharmaceutical manufacturing and will power our response to some of today’s most urgent global health challenges and deliver life-changing medicines and vaccines to patients in need,” said UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. “It will enable the expansion of the Billingham campus and create 350 new jobs – attracting the best innovators and researchers and bolstering our Life Sciences industry as we build back better from the pandemic.”

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