ProBioGen will double its Berlin staff to expand cell-based manufacturing

ProBioGen CEO Wieland Wolf

Contract manufacturer ProBioGen is joining a growing list of companies that are expanding their biologics manufacturing capabilities as more drugmakers need production expertise for cell-based drugs.

The Germany-based CDMO says it will invest €20 million ($25.8 million) and within the next couple of years double its workforce to about 150 at its facility in Berlin. "Together with our parent company, we will continue to expand and invest in Berlin," CEO Wieland Wolf said in our statement. He said ProBioGen would use the investment to add two additional disposable 1000-L bioreactors and, within the next two years double the company's staff to about 150 people.

ProBioGen was acquired in 2010 by Cairo, Egypt-based Minapharm Pharmaceuticals for €30.4 million. Wafik Bardissi, chairman of Minapharm, said the company intends to continue to invest in its biotech sites in Berlin and Cairo.

More of the drugs biotechs are developing are cell-based drugs that can be tricky to develop and manufacture, so they often turn to contractors with expertise for the processing and manufacturing pieces of the works. That has led a number of contractors to build up their capacity. Japan's Fujifilm, for example, last month said it was adding 2000-L single-use bioreactors at each of its plants in Research Triangle Park, NC, in the U.S. and Billingham in the U.K. to expand its cell culture manufacturing. France's Novasep earlier this year got FDA approval for its new highly potent active pharmaceutical ingredients (HPAPI) manufacturing operations at its plant in Le Mans, France. It invested about €4 million in that project.

- here's the announcement