Bristol-Myers Squibb marries early-stage processes to biologics manufacturing

Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) last year began manufacturing its injectable rheumatoid arthritis treatment Orencia at the $750 million complex it had built outside of Boston. In designing the operation, it had always intended on expanding there, adding one of the biologic products that are becoming more important to its future. But after nearly a year in operation the company has decided the next key step is to get development and clinical trial operations in the mix to help it shorten the cycle of development to commercial launch for large-molecule drugs. 

"This initiative is designed to accelerate the development of new biologics medicines through the closer alignment of biologics research and development, and manufacturing," said Lou Schmukler, president, global manufacturing and supply. 

BMS last week kicked off the $250 million project that will add about 200,000 square feet of laboratory and office space to the Devens, MA, site. One building will house a group to design the early production process of investigational biologics medicines. The second building will be for manufacturing investigational medicines for clinical trials. Construction is expected to get under way late this year and be finished in 2015. The company expects to add up to 350 people to the 300 person workforce it currently has over time.

The 400,000-square-foot Devens complex now consists of 6 major buildings, including the biopharma manufacturing facility, administrative and quality control and warehouse space operations. It was built to meet various LEED environmental standards, and there is a wastewater pretreatment plant on the campus. 

Until the new facility is ready to be occupied, Bristol-Myers has leased 30,000 square feet of laboratory space in nearby Hopkinton, MA, to initiate the company vision of having early-stage work tied to the commercial manufacturing operation. 

"This project represents a significant expansion in both the size and mission of Devens," said Peter Moesta, senior vice president, biologics manufacturing and process development. "We envision Devens as a center of excellence for the development and manufacture of biologics medicines, optimally organized to support our growing pipeline of investigational medicines and potential new products."

- here's the release

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