Alexion plans to invest US$68.7M in upgrading biologics manufacturing

IRELAND – AstraZeneca has announced that its rare disease group Alexion will invest €65 million (US$68.7M) to scale up its biologics manufacturing capacity and expand R&D efforts at its sites in Athlone and Blanchardstown in the next 18 months.

AstraZeneca’s deal to acquire Boston-based Alexion was motivated by its desire to be a rare disease player. Key drugs gained in the purchase were Soliris and Ultomiris.

Alexion will focus on three investments: the installation of new drug substance production equipment and warehousing facilities to support ambient and cold storage at both sites and the construction of a manufacturing sciences and technology Lab at College Park, Blanchardstown.

The latter will facilitate scaling up of biologics drug substance manufacturing, while the equipment and warehouse facility in each site will expand Alexion’s drug substance production capabilities, the company said.

The improvements will increase Alexion’s drug substance production capability in Ireland, while the lab will help scale up biologics drug substance manufacturing.

This latest development program follows last year’s decision to build a next generation active pharmaceutical ingredient facility at AstraZeneca’s College Park campus.

AZ is adding equipment for new drug substance production at the Athlone site. It’s also building a new manufacturing and sciences technology lab at the Dublin facility. At both sites, the companies are adding warehousing facilities for ambient and cold storage.

The improvements will increase Alexion’s drug substance production capability in Ireland, while the lab will help scale up biologics drug substance manufacturing.

The companies didn’t disclose whether the investment includes the creation of new jobs.

In September of last year, AstraZeneca said it was building a new active pharmaceutical ingredient plant for small molecules in Dublin’s Blanchardstown area.

The plant has also been tabbed to produce antibody drug conjugates and oligonucleotides and will create roughly 100 jobs.

Earlier on at the 3rd Multinational Companies Summit, AstraZeneca announced plans to expand investment activities in China, starting with the construction of a production and supply facility that will serve as its regional headquarters in Qingdao, Shandong.

The new facility will focus on research and development efforts for rare disease treatments. It will include a life science innovation park and an industrial fund.

In the same event, AstraZeneca said it would build a Budigford inhalation aerosol production and supply center in the Qingdao High-tech Industrial Development Zone that will become the company’s second-largest facility in the country.

Its other existing production plants are in Wuxi and Taizhou, Jiangsu.

The future of biopharmaceuticals lies in R&D and manufacturing opportunities, growth in advanced therapeutics, building employment opportunities in specialized roles and a commitment to a patient-centric, partnership approach.

Other pharmaceutical giants that are expanding their operations in the recent times include GSK, and Moderna.

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