CMC Biologics' Washington operation becomes center of new CDMO business

CMC Biologics was founded in Copenhagen, Denmark, but one of its U.S. operations will become the new world headquarters for the CDMO business its new Japanese owner is creating.

CMC Biologics, which was acquired this year by Japanese conglomerate AGC Asahi Glass, expects to add up to 150 employees to its operation in the Seattle, Washington-area as its new owner makes it the center of the biologics-based CDMO business it is growing.

Asahi acquired Denmark-based CMC Biologics in February for $511 million and has designated its Bothell, Washington operation the drug business headquarters because of its intent to focus on the U.S., CMC Biologics CEO Gustavo Mahler told the Everett, Washington Herald.

“The U.S. market is the largest biotech market in the world,” Mahler, said. “We wanted to have our headquarters in a place where we serve most of our customers.”

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CMC already has about 300 employees at its Bothell operation as well as some in Berkeley, California, and another 300 at facilities in Copenhagen, Denmark, where CMC was founded in 2001.

Asahi had a small drug operation in Japan when it acquired Heidelberg, Germany-based clinical supply producer Biomeva last year. Biomeva, founded in 1993, produces about 450 batches a year at the 100-liter to 1000-liter scale. Asahi intends to weave all of these operations together to be able to offer biologic drug developers contract services from early stage to commercial production.

Other Japanese companies also have made this kind of direction change, even on a larger scale. Fujifilm, looking to expand beyond its declining film business, jumped into biologics manufacturing in 2011 when it reportedly paid about $490 million to buy biologics plants in North Carolina and Northeast England from Merck & Co. and created Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies.

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Fuji has since added a 62,000-square-foot facility in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and an operation in College Station, Texas. It recently said it will invest more than $100 million into expanding its operations.