China’s WuXi to build yet another biologics plant, this one with continuous manufacturing

WuXi Biologics plant
WuXi Biologics will build its first Asian plant outside of China, bringing its total to 10, with the plans for the last three announced within weeks of each other. The above plant near Shanghai is currently China's largest single-use bioreactor facility. (WuXi)

China’s WuXi Biologics is at it again, announcing plans for a third new manufacturing site in less than a month. The CDMO will build this new biologics manufacturing plant, its 10th, in Singapore and said this one will include continuous manufacturing capabilities.

The WuXi city-based CDMO said today that it will invest about $60 million to erect the facility, which will eventually employ 150. It will be its first Asian plant built outside of China. The company recently announced plans to build a plant in Ireland to serve the European markets.

The facility will include two 2,000-liter traditional fed-batch bioreactors and one 500-liter bioreactor with perfusion-based continuous processing capabilities. This facility will be able to handle both clinical and small-volume commercial production. An early-stage bioprocess development lab will also be included. The new manufacturing facility is getting some financial backing from the Singapore Economic Development Board.

"We are all very excited to initiate our first overseas Asian site in Singapore to enable local companies and expedite biologics development in Asia,” Chris Chen, Ph.D., CEO of WuXi Biologics, said in a statement. “We are committed to becoming the most comprehensive capability and technology platform in the global biologics industry to enable both local and global partners."

RELATED: China's WuXi Biologics to build biologics plant in Ireland

This is the third new plant that WuXi Biologics has announced in three weeks. It laid out plans April 30 to invest €325 million ($392 million) on a biologics facility in Dundalk, Ireland, with 400 workers. The project, which has been in the works for several years, won support from Ireland’s development agency. 

Then earlier this month, WuXi Biologics touted its plans for an R&D and clinical and commercial production center in Shijiazhuang that will eventually employ 1,000 workers. The company will invest $240 million in the new facility, which will have a 48,000-liter bioreactor capacity. Work is to begin next year, and the first phase is to be completed in 2020.

RELATED: WuXi and Sinobioway add capacity to nab wave of biologics

The new WuXi plants are part of a wave of new biologics capacity in the works in Asia. China's Shandong Sinobioway Biomedicine Co. said last week it will invest $471.6 million by 2023 on a biologics manufacturing facility that will eventually have 500,000 liters of capacity. The Sinobioway facility, which is slated to be built on a 15,404-square-meter site at the Sinobioway biomedical industry park in Anhui, will include labs, storage and quality-control areas, as well as bioreactor capacity.

The Sinobioway announcement had experts scratching their heads about how the company will fill so much capacity. The company insists that with new regulations that allow Chinese drugmakers to contract out production, the plant should have plenty of demand.