WuXi debuts first vaccine CDMO site in China, where it plans to employ more than 500

Amid a global expansion spree at WuXi Biologics, the company's immunization-focused subsidiary has christened its inaugural CDMO site in China.

Tuesday, WuXi Vaccines launched its first standalone vaccines contract manufacturing facility in Suzhou. With the plant, the company adds drug substance and drug product capacity for projects in various stages of development.

WuXi Vaccines is a contract development and manufacturing organization that helps its partners tackle clinical- and commercial-stage vaccine projects across a range of modalities, including protein-, virus- and mRNA-based shots.

The new site’s drug substance production area houses two cell culture lines and one purification line, teeing up drug substance production scales ranging from 50 liters to 1,000 liters, according to a release. WuXi Vaccines says it will also maintain 2,000 liters of reserve capacity at the facility.

Meanwhile, the drug product facility is equipped with an automatic vial washing, sterilizing, filling and capping line, which can support the clinical production of both liquid and freeze-dried products.

WuXi Vaccines’ site currently employs 200 people. The company aims to grow its head count to more than 500 once the facility reaches full operation.

The company aims to commence large-scale, commercial manufacturing of lyophilized drug product by the end of next year.

Aside from the Suzhou plant, WuXi Vaccines also operates a facility in Dundalk, Ireland, where a quality control potency lab became operational in July 2020. Currently, more than 160 staffers work at the CDMO’s Ireland site.

The WuXi family of companies has been on an expansion tear in recent years.

In June, for instance, WuXi Biologics unveiled plans to expand its operations in Germany. As part of the expansion, the company’s filling and freeze-drying facility in Leverkusen, Germany—acquired from Bayer in 2020—added a second variable filling line.

Additionally, WuXi’s drug substance plant in Wuppertal, Germany, was set to double its total capacity from 12,000 liters to 24,000 liters.

Last fall, meanwhile, WuXi Biologics cut the ribbon on a 1.6 million-square-foot integrated biologics center in Shanghai. The new facility added development and manufacturing capacity at WuXi's existing center, which now supports end-to-end services for biologics projects of various stages.

A few months before that, WuXi Biologics said it would lay out $1.4 billion over the next 10 years to beef up R&D capabilities, plus large-scale drug substance and drug product manufacturing, in Singapore.