Amid biopharma's Singapore expansion push, Thermo Fisher debuts sterile drug facility

The biopharma industry has been busy expanding its operations in Singapore, and, now, Thermo Fisher Scientific is the latest to get in on the action.

The company has opened a new sterile drug plant to bolster the local supply chain and help the region prepare for future health emergencies, Thermo Fisher said in a release. Thermo Fisher completed the project with assistance from the Singapore Economic Development Board.

“With this expansion, we are strategically prepared, more than ever, to respond to our customers’ needs by supporting the accelerated delivery of critical vaccines and medicines to patients,” Thermo Fisher Chief Operating Officer Michel Lagarde said in a statement.

The plant features a high-speed, fully automated aseptic fill-finish line for both small and large molecules, including vaccines. It complements Thermo Fisher’s research capabilities at its Shanghai bioprocess design center, which opened in 2018.

With the latest expansion, more than 2,000 Thermo Fisher employees are contributing to the company's operations in Singapore, the company said in its statement.

But Thermo Fisher’s latest expansion is just one of many in Singapore from industry giants.

Just last year, Merck & Co., Sanofi, WuXi Biologics and GSK either announced plans to build new plants or wrapped up expansion projects there.

In a $500 million expansion push, Merck in October opened a plant and broke ground on another. The next month, GSK started operations at a cancer drug production site.

Meanwhile, Sanofi is planning a 400 million euro "factory of the future" for vaccines that's slated to open by the end of 2025. And in July, WuXi Biologics said it was setting off on a $1.4 billion production and R&D site in Singapore, where it'll employ 1,500 people.

Also last year, Moderna revealed a plan to open commercial offices in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan.

Elsewhere in Asia, Merck KGaA this month said it will build a biopharmaceutical raw materials production facility in South Korea to support commercial manufacturing in the region.

Plus, Chinese biotech Everest Medicines recently opened its mRNA manufacturing facility in Jiashan in Zhejiang Province as part of the company’s efforts to target the mRNA market in China.

For its part, Thermo Fisher is a global life sciences services and materials provider with more than $40 billion in annual sales.

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