Bristol-Myers, Lilly expand biologics operations

Biologic drugs make up a growing part of drugmakers' pipelines and pharma is putting hundreds of millions into infrastructure in preparation for that future. Eli Lilly ($LLY) last week decided to double the investment in a new U.S. insulin plant and now Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) says it will put up $250 million to expand its biologics operations in Devens, MA.

BMS said the expansion will add R&D and clinical trial manufacturing capabilities to the Devens facility where it manufactures its injectable rheumatoid arthritis treatment Orencia, one of its best-selling drugs. "Biologics are increasingly important in the treatment of serious diseases and are a growing part of our company's pipeline of potential new therapies," said Lou Schmukler, Bristol-Myers president of global manufacturing and supply. He said combining R&D with manufacturing should allow Bristol-Myers to get those drugs to market faster. 

The company will add two buildings and 200,000 square feet of space to the campus, which currently comprises 6 buildings and 400,000 square feet. Construction will begin late this year and is slated to be complete in 2015. About 350 jobs will be added over time. 

Until the new facility is ready to move into, Bristol-Myers has leased 30,000 square feet of laboratory space in nearby Hopkinton, MA, to begin moving some biologics process development functions closer to Devens.

Eli Lilly in November kicked off a $140 million plant in its hometown of Indianapolis to make insulin-filled cartridges. Then last week, Lilly announced it had decided to more than double its capabilities there, adding $180 million more in space and equipment. Other drugmakers are adding biologics capabilities all over the world. Novartis ($NVS) last year started work on a $500 million biologics manufacturing center in Singapore as its pipeline of drugs fills up with treatments based on large-molecule drugs.

- here's the release

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