CMC nabs Xoma's Bay Area plant

Contract manufacturer CMC Biologics is doubling its manufacturing space by picking up a plant in California that biotech company Xoma ($XOMA) wants to unload.

"Establishing a facility in the Bay Area complements our existing facilities located in Bothell, Washington, and in Copenhagen, Denmark, and supports our continued growth and addresses the growing demand of our customers for cGMP clinical and commercial production of biopharmaceuticals."

The 31,000-square-foot Berkeley plant includes three 2,750-liter stainless steel bioreactors and two purification suites, as well as warehouse and office space, CMC says in a release. The company expects to be up and running in the plant in 2013, Stacie Byars, CMC's senior manager of global marketing, tells Xconomy. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CMC already operates a former Icos plant in Bothell, which it bought from Eli Lilly ($LLY) in 2007 after Lilly's acquisition of Icos, as well as a plant in Copenhagen.

Byars tells Xconomy that given the Bay Area's concentration of biotech companies, it's a good place for CMC to set up shop. Because setting up the technical processes involved in handing off manufacturing to CMOs like CMC can require so much coordination, being near clients will only help. The Bay Area is "one of the largest biotech hubs there is, and there are a lot of companies being born there," Byars says.

Xoma, on the other hand, sees the move as a way to save money. In January, the company said it was essentially getting out of manufacturing and would not renew its lease on the plant in 2013. The move, which it said would save about $14 million, also cost about 85 jobs. 

- read the Xconomy story
- get the press release