Fast-growing Catalent plots $350M expansion and 1,000 new hires in US

Catalent, months after quietly acquiring additional land in Indiana, has unveiled designs on a sweeping expansion at its flagship facility. 

The CDMO plans to pump $350 million into its plant in Bloomington, IN, and add more than 1,000 jobs there “in the coming years,” the company said Thursday.

The investment will help the company expand its drug substance and drug product manufacturing capacity, in turn serving the industry’s biologics pipeline across “various modalities,” Catalent said. Specifically, the expansion will bring on new bioreactors, syringe-filling lines and extra freeze-drying capacity, plus new quality control labs and “complex automated packaging,” Catalent said. 

On the bioprocessing front, Catalent is kitting out its Bloomington plant with two new 2,000-liter single-use bioreactors, plus expanded downstream processing for drug substance. The added flex will allow Catalent to tackle projects up to 4,000-liters using single-use technology or 5,000 liters using existing stainless-steel bioreactors, the company explained. 

The CDMO is also establishing new quality control laboratories and complex packaging space, which will include high-speed, automated cartoning and auto-injector device assembly. If all goes according to plan, those new capabilities will be fully up-and-running later this year, Catalent said. 

Meanwhile, ever-mindful of the critical last step in drug manufacturing, Catalent’s expansion will also boost drug product fill-finish capacity. The company says it’s adding new syringe filling lines under barrier isolator technology as well as more freeze-dried vial capacity. 

Once the site is completed—currently pegged to happen in 2024—its “broad range” of fill-finish offerings will provide both dose form and batch size flexibility for early- to late-stage development programs plus “high volume” commercial supply across multiple modalities, the company said. 

Catalent has been on a global expansion tear of late, thanks in no small part to its leading position in the CDMO market during the pandemic.

Earlier this month, the CDMO snapped up a biologics development and manufacturing center near Oxford in the U.K. Catalent will lay out $160 million to wrap up construction at the site, which it bought from the country’s Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre. Upon completion, the facility will focus on designing and producing mRNA-based biologics and vaccines, in addition to proteins and other advanced modalities, Catalent said at the time. 

In mid-March, meanwhile, Catalent wrapped up a $30 million expansion project at its site in Limoges, France, where it plans to hire another 80 staffers. The upgrade boosted the Limoges plant’s capacity for small molecule injectable development, added a new small- to mid-scale flexible filling line and more. 

Stateside, the company has continued to make moves in Indiana, too. 

Back in November 2021, Catalent paid $1.2 million for three parcels of land south of its current Bloomington site, The Herald Times first reported. 

That land will come in handy for the company's latest expansion, a Catalent spokesperson confirmed over email. The company needs the "added infrastructure for the staff that we have already recruited and also for the planned additional 1,000 new employees that we envisage," the spokesperson explained.