Lithuanian CDMO adding biologics capacity and more than 60 jobs

Biotechpharma will add 500 L capacity to its biologics manufacturing, which it expects to have completed in the fourth quarter of 2020. (Pixabay)

Biologics continue to be a growth area for pharma, and a Lithuanian contract manufacturer intends to get a bigger piece of the market with an expansion that essentially doubles its output and will add dozens to its workforce.

Vilnius, Lithuania-based CDMO Biotechpharma will invest more than €50 million to boost its capacity to 5,000 L. A spokesman said in an email that the expansion, which is set to be complete in the fourth quarter of 2020, will add 60 to 80 positions to its current workforce of about 150.

“The expansion comes amid growing global demand for flexible and responsive outsourcing partners that are able to support the full product lifecycle, from upstream and downstream process development and optimization to GMP manufacturing of drug substance and formulated drug product,” Biotechpharma Chairman Vladas Bumelis said in a statement.

RELATED: Thermo Fisher expands biologics manufacturing at 3 sites

The new plant is being built at the company’s site in Vilnius, Lithuania, and will contain a new line of bioreactors for microbial fermentation at the 5,000 L scale. It said a flexible facility design will also allow for increased mammalian cell culture production capacities in addition to the already existing two lines of 1000 L and 2000 L for mammalian cell production, both equipped with single-use bioreactors. It said the expansion will increase its volume capacity by nearly a factor of two.

The Biotechpharma expansion comes amid growing competition among CDMOs for the biologics business of drugmakers. Thermo Fisher Scientific, for example, recently announced it would invest $150 million to boost capacity at sites in Greenville, North Carolina, as well as Monza and Ferentino, Italy. Each site will get aseptic filling lines and isolator technology. Construction is slated to be complete within 24 months.