WuXi Biologics, WuXi AppTec plot manufacturing expansions in US, China

Biopharma's contract manufacturing field might be facing challenges, but that’s not keeping WuXi AppTec and WuXi Biologics from continuing their ambitious expansion efforts.

In China, WuXi AppTec has commissioned two new peptide manufacturing plants. The facilities, in Changzhou and Taixing, allow WuXi AppTec to increase its ability to meet the surging demand for peptide therapeutics.

In the United States, WuXi Biologics is bolstering the capability of its new site in Worcester, Mass., which is under construction. The increase will boost the capacity of the Worcester facility to 36,000 liters, from a planned 24,000 liters, the company said, to meet the growing demand for its services. The additional 12,000 liters will be for "commercial drug substance capacity," WuXi Biologics added.

The Wuxi Biologics announcement comes a month after the company's stock plummeted by 24% after it announced it would come up roughly $400 million short of its annual revenue forecast, blaming the “fast decline of COVID revenue.”

While making the announcement, the company said it remained optimistic about the turnaround of the industry and its ability to expand and attract new business.

As for WuXi Biologics' plant in Worcester, it now will employ 250 when it becomes fully operational, which the company expects to happen in 2025, with GMP certification expected the following year.

The upgrade of the facility, which is dubbed MFG11, reflects WuXi Biologics' “commitment to continuously strengthen our capabilities in line with anticipated market and client needs,” CEO Chris Chen said in a release.

WuXi Biologics announced its plan to build in Worcester in 2018. Two years later, it revealed a deal with the Worcester Business Development Corporation to become the first resident of a 46-acre manufacturing hub dubbed the Reactory. To attract WuXi Biologics, the Worcester City Council approved an $11.5 million tax increment financing plan, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

The site is WuXi Biologics' fourth in the U.S. Last year, the company opened its Boston Research Service Center. WuXi Biologics also has a clinical manufacturing facility in New Jersey and process development and characterization labs in Pennsylvania.

The company now employs 400 in the U.S., with the number bumping up to 600 when MFG11 becomes operational, which will signal the start of WuXi Biologics having the full spectrum of integrated services in the U.S.

Worldwide, the company employs 12,000 people. In addition to its facilities in China and the U.S., it has sites in Ireland, Germany and Singapore. WuXi has a portfolio of 621 client projects, including 22 in commercial manufacturing, it said.

As for the WuXi AppTec expansion in China, it is the company’s third peptide manufacturing plant in Changzhou and its first in Taixing, and will boost WuXi AppTec’s total reactor volume to 32,000 liters.

WuXi AppTec and WuXi Biologics are separate Contract Research, Development and Manufacturing Organizations (CRDMOs) based in China.