GERMANY – German family-owned biopharma major Boehringer Ingelheim has inaugurated a state-of-the-art biologics facility in Vienna, Austria heralding the single-largest investment in the company’s history.

The Large-Scale Cell Culture (LSCC) is one of the most advanced in its own league, boasting a high degree of digitalization and automation through smart technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

The facility boasts a total of 48 stainless-steel bioreactors at various scales, boasts a production capacity of 185,000 liters, exceeding its original planned capacity of 150,000 liters.

The facility, which increased mammalian large scale capacity by 30 percent with 48 stainless steel bioreactors, has been in the works since 2015.

Aside from the increased capacity, the project’s cost surpassed its original estimate of €500 million (US$578 million).

The facility has been built at a cost of €700 million (US$810 million), and has created 500 new jobs. The site is the company’s largest investment to date.

The plant, touted as a state-of-the-art facility is structured to allow a faster manufacturing handoff from one product to another as well as simultaneous production of various products. It allows changeovers from one product to the other within a short time.

The facility can supply sufficient quantities of biomolecules such as monoclonal antibodies, enzymes, cytokines, and recombinant proteins.

Thus, the new facility will bolster Boehringer Ingelheim’s product portfolio besides offering third-party product manufacturing through its BioXcellence contract manufacturing business.

Highly complex biologics play a significant role in the treatment of chronic and severe diseases.

In highlighting the significance, chairman of the Board of Managing Directors, Hubertus von Baumbach said: “The potential of biopharmaceuticals for future innovative treatments is growing fast. We are committed to investing on the development of additional production platforms for biologics based on the latest technologies.”

“There are still many patients today whose diseases cannot yet be adequately treated. That is why we are putting every effort into advancing the science that will enable us to achieve the next medical breakthrough.”

The news is a boost to Boehringer Ingelheim’s biologics network, joining a microbial plant on the same site and mammalian cell culture plants in Biberach (Germany), Shanghai (China), and Fremont (US).

Boehringer, which earned approximately US$22.9 billion in revenue in 2020, reported US$11.63 billion in revenue in the first six months of 2021, a 5.8 percent increase from the same period a year ago when adjusted for foreign currencies.

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