Fueled by COVID drug manufacturing revenues, CDMO Jubilant HollisterStier invests in upgrades, expansion

Novavax vaccine
Production of COVID-19 products, such as Novavax's vaccine, has kept Jubilant HollisterStier busy since the start of the pandemic. The extra business is fueling investment in expansion for the Spokane CDMO.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Jubilant HollisterStier has been busy churning out COVID-19 treatments and more recently vaccines. Now it's turning those revenues from the increased business into an investment in the future.

The Spokane, Washington-based CDMO revealed a $92 million expansion plan this week that includes a high-speed injectable fill line with isolator technology that will allow it to churn out 400 vials per minute, increasing capacity by 50%, the company said in a news release.

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The expansion also includes two 300-square foot lyophilizers and will spread over 50,000 square feet. Lyophilizers freeze dry and stabilize materials, a necessary step in the manufacture of drugs, vaccines, antibodies and other biological products. 

The new line will be operational by the end of 2024, Jubilant said, and it's already begun filling new roles to support the expansion.

“We are excited to expand our sterile injectable and vaccine manufacturing capacity and meet the increasing demand of our customers,” Jubilant HollisterStier president Amit Arora said.

This is the first of a two-phase expansion, revealed in December, that will result hiring 400 new employees and doubling its floor space. Jubilant plans to build on an adjacent seven-acre plot of land that the company owns to accommodate the growth.

The second phase of the project will add another high-speed fill line. When complete, Jubilant’s annual production capacity will increase from 110 million vials to 220 million vials. 

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Jubilant’s business boom has helped fuel the investment. In December, the company told the Spokane Journal of Business that it was engaged in production 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

COVID-19 formulations have played a big role. Among the products Jubilant HollisterStier turns out are Gilead’s remdesivir and Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab. In March, the company announced a fill-finish deal with Novavax for its COVID-19 vaccine.   

Pramod Yadav, CEO of Jubilant HollisterStier’s parent company, Jubilant Pharma Limited, said the expansion comes at a “critical juncture.”

“With two facilities in North America working to manufacture multiple COVID-19 vaccines and therapies, we remain committed to supporting efforts to eradicate this global pandemic and are prepared for a potential future pandemic response,” Yadav said. “This expansion also will help us meet high demand from our global specialty pharmaceutical customers.”