CMO capacity expansions mirror market

Biopharma manufacturing and high-potency API production were chief drivers of facility expansions among contract manufacturers this year. Expansion activity on the whole was limited, however, according to Pharmaceutical Technology magazine.

The expansions are in line with the apparent continuing trend of production outsourcing by drugmakers that have made major cost cuts and that want to maintain focus on discovery and development activities. In addition, CMOs that have biologics expertise and infrastructure can sometimes quicken the market approval process for their clients.

In a contract API manufacturing roundup, the magazine identifies the opening of Almac's North American headquarters in Souderton, PA, last May among noteworthy capacity expansions. The 240,000-square-foot facility houses more than 800 employees and provides services that parallel those of its site in Craigavon, Northern Ireland. Craigvon is set for its own expansion, which the report says will include a formulation-development facility for scale-up of solid oral dose products, including high-potency compounds.

Other high-potency capacity expansions noted in the report include several for Lonza: a $26 million addition to its Visp, Switzerland, facility for multi-kilogram-scale production of cytotoxic substances; an $11 million expansion of a biopharma development platform in Singapore; $25 million for a new building at its Slough, U.K.-area biomanufacturing campus; and construction of a cleanroom adjacent to Houston, TX, operations to support large-scale, late-stage viral vaccine and gene therapy projects.

Another high-potency compound maker, Piramal Healthcare, added a quality-control lab to support its Grangemouth, Scotland operations. Grangemouth, which provides commercial-scale antibody-drug conjugate production, is currently being assessed to see if additional manufacturing suites will be needed for kilogram-scale batch production.

Contract manufacturers also noted in the report include Sigma-Aldridge unit SAFC, Saltigo, Aescia and Alphora.

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