Boehringer Ingelheim's CMO operations pay off even as new production comes online

Boehringer Ingelheim biologics plant Shanghai
Boehringer Ingelheim this year opened this $77 million biologics plant in Shanghai, China to boost its CMO work and started construction on a $825 million biopharma API manufacturing facility in Austria.

Boehringer Ingelheim saw a significant rise in sales in the first half of the year, and a piece of that came from a healthy jump in its contract manufacturing operations, even as it adds to its biopharma capacity.

The family-owned business Wednesday reported H1 2017 revenues of  €9.2 billion, up 24%, after coming out of a major restructuring over the last several years. It reported that its contract manufacturing business contributed €256 million, up 18%.

With a new biologics plant in China and work starting on a major expansion for biopharma API production in Vienna, Austria, those revenues BI's CMO revenues should continue to march upward.  

The German drugmaker decided several years ago that China, with its huge population and growing appetite for the latest meds, was a good place to establish a biologics contract manufacturing operation. In May it opened a $77 million facility in Shanghai to capitalize on that bet.

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The plant has a single-use bioreactor that can handle clinical supplies or commercial production up to 2000 liters. The facility, which employs about 65, is designed so that Boehringer Ingelheim can add more 2000-L single-use bioreactors and fill/finish capabilities if demand calls for that.

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On a much larger scale, the company in April started work on a large API biopharma manufacturing facility at its Vienna site. BI says the project, which has grown to €700 million from its original €500 million cost projection, is the single largest investment in the company’s history. The project, which is slated to be complete in 2021, will have 150,000-liter manufacturing capacities and more than 400 workers.

Boehringer has said that its own biologics drug development and demand for biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing had led it to make the major investment.