JSR's CDMO arm plans $150M biologics facility in Research Triangle alongside unnamed pharma partner

Biologics production has mushroomed in recent years with massive investments from big biopharma and contract manufacturing alike. Just over a month after its parent company pledged to expand clinical supply of those drugs, a North Carolina-based CDMO has even bigger plans for its commercial ops.

KBI Biopharma will drop $150 million into a 140,000-square-foot commercial manufacturing facility in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, to produce complex biologics including "therapeutic proteins" for an unnamed pharma partner, the company said this week.

The newest facility will add 200 positions in operations and quality assurance and is set to go online in the first quarter of 2022, KBI said in a release.

The Research Triangle Park site will complement KBI's growing presence in clinical manufacturing after its parent company, Sunnyvale, California-based JSR Life Sciences, unveiled plans in October to boost its CDMO's early-stage work in Geneva. KBI's newest facility will hold six 2,000-liter, single-use bioreactors with the potential to churn out 100 commercial batches each year.

RELATED: California CDMO plots ambitious expansion in Geneva in biologics manufacturing play

In late October, JSR touted its plans to add 250 jobs at a new double-occupant campus in Geneva that will house operations for KBI and its Selexis SA affiliate.

JSR's 94,000-square-foot site in Geneva's Zone Plan-les-Ouates (ZIPLO) will hold KBI's 60,000-square-foot  biologic bulk drug substance manufacturing facility for European customers, which 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 bioreactors with process development and analytical testing labs, JSR said. The company's additional drug product testing will be performed at labs in Leuven, Belgium.

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

Commercial-scale manufacturing for complex biologics has seen some whopping investments in recent months, including a massive outlay from Samsung Biologics earlier this year.

The South Korean CDMO revealed plans in August to build a massive $2 billion biologics "super plant" at its Incheon hub, with a footprint as large as its other three manufacturing sites combined. The 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.

Samsung recently broke ground on the plant and is negotiating to secure an additional campus in Incheon on 81.5 acres of land. The additional site in the Incheon Free Economic Zone would become an "open Innovation center to foster biotech companies and build a global R&D facility in addition to securing space for future plants within the new complex," Samsung said.