Takeda splashes €300M to expand plasma-derived therapy production site amid pandemic recovery

Riding on fast growth after a temporary pandemic slowdown, Takeda’s plasma-derived therapy department is investing heavily to boost its manufacturing capabilities.

The Japanese pharma giant is investing nearly 300 million euros ($300 million) to build a new production facility for plasma-derived therapies and a new warehouse at its existing Lessines site in Belgium, the company revealed Tuesday during a celebration of the site’s 50th anniversary.

The details remain thin, but the new plant will have higher output and will be “even more data and digital driven” than the existing Lessines facility, Thomas Wozniewski, Takeda’s global manufacturing and supply officer, said in a statement.

As part of Takeda’s commitment to have net zero carbon emissions by 2030, the new facility will be self-sufficient in electricity. It will also feature a water recycling system that will cut freshwater consumption by 90% by 2023, Wozniewski said. The new warehouse will itself have net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The new plant is being built as EU countries, including Belgium, grapple with an energy crisis triggered by Russia’s halt of its natural gas supply to the region.

The Lessines site and its 1,200 employees currently produce plasma-based therapies immunoglobulins and Glassia, which are used to treat immunodeficiences and Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, respectively, a Takeda spokesperson told Fierce Pharma. The site has capacity to treat more than 300,000 patients a year and is specialized in purification and filling as well as packaging, Takeda says.

The production of plasma-derived therapies relies on blood donations, which fell during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Plasma collection has recently returned to pre-pandemic levels at Takeda, and the company expects about 10% to 20% donation volume growth year over year in its fiscal year that ends in March 2023.

Plasma-derived therapies represent an area of focus at Takeda. In the three months ended in June, the department saw sales jump 18% at constant currencies to 141.9 billion yen ($1 billion) as its immunoglobulin and albumin products delivered fast growth.

The Belgian expansion follows other investments Takeda has made in manufacturing lately—and they all follow the line of digitalization and environmental friendliness.

Last year, the company unveiled a plan to more than double its manufacturing space at its Thousand Oaks, California, site, which makes rare disease treatments. The new California plant will feature automation, robotics and digitization to minimize human errors, Takeda has said. The entire site aims to cut 40% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, starting with a solar project.

And a year ago, Takeda also started expanding a manufacturing facility in Singapore, constructing what will be the first zero carbon emissions building in Takeda’s global manufacturing network. The project deploys over 660 solar panels to fully meet the building’s energy consumption.  

Editor's Note: The story has been updated with additional information from a Takeda spokesperson.