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

WuXi Biologics plant
This WuXi Biologics plant is China's largest single-use bioreactor facility, but the company will now build an even bigger facility in Ireland as it expands globally. (WuXi Biologics)

Just months after completing China’s largest single-use bioreactor manufacturing facility, WuXi Biologics is ready to take its technology to Europe with another large biologics facility that will employ 400 workers.

Wuxi-city based WuXi Biologics said today it will invest €325 million ($392 million) to build a biologics facility in Dundalk, Ireland, and create a campus of 26 hectares (2.8 million square feet). The project, its first outside of China, has been in the works for several years and has snagged support from Ireland’s development agency.

“We are all excited to initiate our first global site to enable local companies and expedite biologics development in Europe,” WuXi Biologics CEO Chris Chen said in a statement.

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Chen said in an email that the project would begin in the first quarter of 2019 and is slated to be complete by the second quarter of 2021. 

The plant will use multiple single-use bioreactors for commercial biomanufacturing and is also designed to be able to run continuous bioprocessing, the company said today. With a total of 48,000 L fed-batch and 6,000 L perfusion bioreactor capacity, WuXi says it will be the world’s largest facility using single-use bioreactors.

RELATED: WuXi Biologics is producing a newly approved HIV med in the first Chinese biologics plant approved by the FDA

The company in December completed what it calls the China’s largest single-use bioreactor manufacturing facility, a feat it accomplished in less than three years. It has about a 30,000 L bioreactor capacity. In March, it got FDA approval for its first drug to be produced there, an HIV treatment from Taiwan-based TaiMed Biologics. Trogarzo (ibalizumab-uiyk) is the first HIV therapy developed in more than a decade with a novel mechanism of action.  

The company is also a contract manufacturer for WuXi Biologics has been our long-term strategic collaborator as contract manufacturer for our orphan drug developer, New Jersey-based Amicus Therapeutics, producing its Pompe biologic, ATB200.

The new biologics plant in Dundalk is actually the Chinese company’s second project in Ireland. Its gene-sequencing unit, WuXi NextCODE, struck a deal last year with Genomics Medicine Ireland.