California CDMO plots ambitious expansion in Geneva in biologics manufacturing play

Biologics have blossomed in recent years as a lucrative market for contract manufacturers, with drugmakers dropping big bucks in the field. A California CDMO is hoping to splash into the fray in a big way, and it's plotting a major facility in Switzerland to tap the Euro large-molecule market.

Sunnyvale-based CDMO JSR Life Sciences will add 250 jobs at a new double-occupant campus in Geneva that will house operations for the company's KBI Biopharma and Selexis SA affiliates, JSR said this week. 

JSR's 94,000-square-foot site in Geneva's Zone Plan-les-Ouates (ZIPLO) will hold KBI's new 60,000-square-foot  biologic bulk drug substance manufacturing facility for European customers that is scheduled to go online in mid-2022. That new facility alone will create more than 200 technical positions in development, operations, and quality assurance, according to a release.

The KBI plant will be dedicated to clinical trial supply and will include two 2,000-liter single-use manufacturing trains with process development and analytical testing labs, JSR said. The company's additional drug product testing will be performed at labs in Leuven, Belgium.

In addition, the JSR site will more than triple Selexis' Geneva footprint with laboratories and office spaces added. The facility will allow Selexis to grow its offerings for cell-line development and cell-culture growth. 

RELATED: U.K. manufacturer Abzena pumps $60M into new biologics facility in San Diego

JSR is one of many contract manufacturers making big down payments in biologics, as the field has seen a flood of biopharma investment. 

Earlier this month, U.K. CDMO Abzena announced it would spend $60 million to build a new 50,000-square-foot facility in San Diego to expand the site's offerings from early-stage to commercial biologics. The new "Lusk" facility will eventually employ an additional 125 workers, and it will house a 7,400-square-foot development laboratory and two manufacturing cleanrooms for 500-, and 2,000-liter single-use bioreactors, Abzena said.

Prior to the expansion, Abzena's existing San Diego facilities only handled manufacturing for early-stage biologics, but they will now offer start-to-finish services for clients. The expansion will mirror another Abzena facility in Bristol, Pennsylvania, that offers similar early-clinical to commercial-stage manufacturing.

RELATED: Samsung Biologics plots $2B 'super plant' as COVID-19 sends sales through the roof

Meanwhile, Korea's Samsung Biologics is planning a massive $2 billion biologics "super plant" at its Incheon, South Korea, hub, with a footprint as large as its other three facilities combined.

The ambitious facility will encompass 2.56 million square feet of floor space and 256,000 liters of capacity—nearly doubling the CDMO's overall capacity to 620,000 liters, Samsung said. The plant is set to go online in 2022.