Scorpion Biological Services announces new Kansas commercial biomanufacturing facility

Published: 5-May-2022

Biopharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing organisation Scorpion Biological Services announced a planned development partnership with a private developer, the State of Kansas, and local and university affiliates

It will support the construction of a new biodefense-focused large molecule and biologics biomanufacturing facility in Manhattan, Kansas. The $650 million commercial-scale facility, which will service approximately 144,000 litres of biomanufacturing capacity across 48 bioreactors, is being designed for large molecule biologics manufacturing.

The design and engineering of the facility is being led by CRB Group, a nationally recognised 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.

After considering locations in 23 states, the Scorpion leadership team selected Manhattan, Kansas, largely as a result of the city’s concentration of biodefense organisations, 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 specific goal of the facility will be to help scale production of ANTHIM, an antitoxin against anthrax, which could be employed in defence 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 –– by April 2024 — with plans to complete a new train every 15 months thereafter. Scorpion projects that the Manhattan facility will be complete, fully functional and staffed by April 2027.

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. Where possible, Scorpion plans to use a U.S.-based supply chain, beginning with the decision to install 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 litres 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.”

Upon completion, Scorpion projects 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’s, bachelor’s, and graduate level to help train Scorpion’s future workforce.

“We are thrilled and excited that Scorpion has chosen Kansas for this game-changing facility that will have a massive positive impact in our state,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “Being in the centre of the country, with quick access to either coast, there is no better state for Scorpion to locate in order to address potential threats to public health.”

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