Oncology specialist BeiGene has its Chinese manufacturing operations on lock. With momentum building, the company is turning its gaze to the U.S. with plans to stand up its first factory stateside.
BeiGene has designs on a flagship manufacturing and clinical R&D center in the U.S., and it’s clinched a deal for roughly 42 acres with more than one million square feet of developable land to see its mission through. The new plant, planned for Hopewell, New Jersey, will come equipped to handle commercial-scale biologics manufacturing and clinical R&D, plus include office space, Michael Garvey, Global Head of Technical Operations at BeiGene, told Fierce Pharma.
BeiGene expects its purchase of the site at the Princeton West Innovation Park to close in the third quarter of 2021, with initial construction pegged to wrap up in 2023, Garvey said. Phase 1 of the expansion “calls for hundreds of jobs,” he added. While BeiGene builds the plant, the company aims to rent space nearby and plans to begin hiring “immediately,” Garvey said.
BeiGene is keeping its investment value close to the vest for now, Garvey said. BeiGene’s initial outlay will cover land costs and construction for buildings “to house colleagues in a variety of disciplines,” plus the manufacturing setup.
The site will be able to produce a “broad array of medicines” and will be built to support the company’s current and future pipeline, though BeiGene is still hashing out the specifics, Garvey said. While the initial focus will be on biologics, the site could eventually be used to make small-molecule drugs, too, he added.
With the new factory, BeiGene hopes to position itself for external collaboration and build out a talent hub, Garvey said. The company will also look to spearhead the “next generation of patient safety monitoring” through partnerships and its own efforts to digitalize pharmacovigilance.
The planned U.S. production site adds another link in BeiGene’s global supply chain, which is currently concentrated in China. The company operates a small-molecule factory in Suzhou and a biologics plant in Guangzhou. It’s also enlisted Boehringer Ingelheim to make the Novartis-partnered cancer med tislelizumab at its biopharmaceutical plant in Shanghai, plus Catalent to help make Brukinsa at the CDMO’s site in Kansas City, Kansas.
“We are continuing to grow and as a key part of that growth we are making a significant investment in the United States that will expand our current capabilities,” Garvey said.
After posting clinical and commercial wins in recent years, BeiGene has become a rising star in the biopharma industry. In May, the company said it had more than doubled product sales in the first quarter to $106 million. Demand for tislelizumab, Brukinsa and the Amgen-shared bone drug Xgeva were on the rise, thanks to the trio's inclusion on China’s National Reimbursement Drug List starting in March, BeiGene said at the time.
Meanwhile, the company early last month got the go-ahead for a $3 billion IPO on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR market, marking its third listing behind its Nasdaq and Hong Kong public offerings in 2016 and 2018, respectively.