WuXi Biologics taking over Bayer plant, giving it a jump on its global expansion plans

A plant WuXi Biologics is building in Ireland was to be its first outside of China, but it turns out that distinction will go to Germany. The Chinese drugmaker has struck a deal to take over a Bayer plant in Leverkusen, Germany, for its own use but also to provide backup supply for Bayer's hemophilia drug Kovaltry if needed.

The two companies announced the deal by saying that WuXi Biologics will take on a long-term lease for the one of Bayer’s finished drug plants at Leverkusen but buy its equipment. Shanghai-based WuXi will not hire the two dozen employees that work at the plant. They will transfer to other Bayer facilities, a Bayer spokesman said in an email. 

RELATED: China's WuXi Biologics to build biologics plant in Ireland that will employ 400

“We are excited to sign this acquisition agreement with Bayer, allowing us to have quick access to high quality drug product manufacturing capacities and capabilities,” Chris Chen, CEO of WuXi Biologics, said in a statement

Financial terms were not disclosed, but Bayer said the plant “shall serve as a back-up site for final product manufacturing of Kovaltry.” Bayer’s facility in Berkeley, California, will remain the key site for the manufacturing and filling of the long-acting treatment for hemophilia A patients of all ages. 

RELATED: Bayer sees its new Kovaltry as one arrow in a hemophilia quiver

Chinese drugmaker WuXi Biologics in 2018 said it would build a biologics plant in Dundalk, Ireland, which would be its first biologics plant outside of China. WuXi is investing €325 million ($392 million) in the plant, which is slated to employ 400 workers when it is completed in 2021. Last year, it said its vaccine joint venture would build a vaccine plant next to the biologics facility. 

The company has already built in WuXi City what it calls China’s largest bioprocessing plant. It said today that it intends to continue expanding its global capacity.