Shire says $1.2B U.S. plant ready for commercial production

Shire is asking for FDA approval to begin production this year of its Gammagard Liquid, a primary humoral immunodeficiency replacement therapy.

Shire has been selling off some of the plants it picked up in its $32 billion buyout of Baxalta in 2016, but not all of them. Shire hopes to start commercial production this year at a $1.2 billion plasma plant in Georgia that it got in that deal.

The Dublin, Ireland-based company recently said that it has filed its first submission to the FDA for the plant in Covington, Georgia. It is seeking the transfer of production of Gammagard Liquid, a replacement therapy for primary humoral immunodeficiency. When fully operational, the facility will add about 30% to its manufacturing capacity.

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The 1-million-square-foot facility was announced in 2012 when Baxalta was still the drug unit of Baxter. Baxter spun the drug unit off into Baxalta in 2014, and Shire bought it in 2016 in a move to broaden its offerings.

When Baxter announced the facility in 2012, it said it expected to eventually have 1,500 employees working there. Shire said there are currently 900 employees and it intends to hire more this year.

Shire ended up with 17 manufacturing sites following the Baxalta deal and its $5.9 billion buyout of Massachusetts-based rare-disease competitor Dyax Corp. After a review it began shedding unneeded facilities while still building some new plants, including a biologics facility in Ireland. 

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In August, it sold a former Baxter vaccine plant in Austria to Merck & Co., which is renovating the 340,000-square-foot facility to have it ready for production in 2022. Shire also closed a plasma plant in Los Angeles, California.