Thermo Fisher dishes up $40M for Pennsylvania facility expansion, creating more than 100 jobs

Thermo Fisher Scientific, plowing ahead on a more-than half-a-billion-dollar bioprocessing expansion, has telegraphed the next leg of its single-use technologies overhaul. 

The company is plugging $40 million into an upgrade of its single-use technology manufacturing facility in Millersburg, Pennsylvania. The expansion–part of a long-term, $650-million investment Thermo Fisher unveiled last year–will tee up a new, 47,000-square-foot warehouse at the site, plus 100 new hires, the company said Tuesday. Thermo Fisher says it expects the site to employ more than 1,000 workers once it’s fully renovated by the middle of 2023.

Single-use technologies are increasingly being used in the development of biologic drugs and vaccines, Thermo Fisher noted in a release. The PA expansion will “add significant capacity to continue providing the biopharma industry with the technology and materials needed to assist in developing new vaccines, cancer treatments and breakthrough therapies for other conditions,” the company added. 

Since the start of the pandemic, Thermo Fisher’s Millersburg site has been involved with more than 20 pharmaceutical partners to develop therapies and vaccines, the company said. The site currently employs more than 900 people, 200 of whom joined over the past three years, a Thermo Fisher spokesperson told Fierce Pharma. 

“During the pandemic, our colleagues in Millersburg and around the world answered the call for increased production,” Mitch Kennedy, president of single-use technologies at Thermo Fisher Scientific, said in a statement. “Our expanded bioprocessing capabilities will ensure that we can continue to deliver essential supplies to our customers as demand surges.”

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Thermo Fisher picked up its Millersburg facility back in 2015. Over the past two years, the company has “expanded and modernized” the plant’s warehouse and cleanrooms, Thermo Fisher said in its release. 

Thermo Fisher’s wide-ranging bioprocessing investment, meanwhile, is meant to lock up “flexible, scalable and reliable” bioprocessing capacity for critical materials used in new and existing biologics and vaccines, including those for COVID-19. The capital investment originally totaled $600 million, but that figure rose to $650 million in September, when Thermo Fisher drew back the curtain on plans for a dedicated single-use technologies plant in Nashville.

That facility is set to become one of the world’s largest single-use manufacturing sites, Thermo Fisher has said, and it’s expected to more than double the company's single-use capacity. The first phase of the Nashville plant’s construction is expected to wrap up in this year’s second quarter, Thermo Fisher added. 

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Outside of Nashville, the multi-million-dollar spend is designed to boost single-use production capacity at sites in Utah, the United Kingdom, Singapore and China, Thermo Fisher said last year. Thermo Fisher's 115,000-square-foot single-use technologies manufacturing facility in Singapore has already opened for business, Thermo Fisher's spokesperson noted.