Swiss contract manufacturer Lonza has announced it will invest around $300m (€220m) in the expansion of its US biomanufacturing plant, just two weeks after kicking off the construction of a similar facility in Singapore.
The firm said the building of the new site - located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire - will start next month and will result in a 330,000 sq. ft facility expected to house "leading edge biotherapeutics manufacturing technologies" as well as offices, warehouse and support systems.
The Portsmouth site is Lonza's largest scale mammalian cell culture plant commissioned to date by the company. Its capacity - which currently amounts to 93,000 litres - will increase with the addition of a 5,000-litre bioreactor to the existing facility. Once completed, the expansion may result in up to 350 extra jobs.
"The new facility in Portsmouth will further strengthen Lonza's position as the leading supplier to the life-science industry," said Stephan Kutzer, head of Lonza Biopharmaceuticals division.
"We will be able to offer our customers tailor-made solutions in manufacturing, with cutting edge fermentation technologies and new throughput-boosting downstream processing."
Just two weeks ago, the Swiss firm announced that it had broken ground at its new biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Singapore, following an investment of $350m.
The facility is the company's second in the country and will also be a large-scale commercial mammalian cell culture manufacturing plant with up to four bioreactor trains each with flexible capacity of 1,000 to 20,000 litres.
It is clear why Lonza is investing so heavily in biomanufacturing. Biopharmaceuticals are one of the key growth drivers of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and the sector is booming, with approximately one-fourth of new drugs coming on the market being biopharmaceuticals and generating in excess of $35bn in 2004, with annual sales projected to surpass $52bn by 2010.
With biological products due to take centre stage in the pharma industry over the coming years, the contract manufacturer is taking the necessary steps to make sure it is set to grab itself a large piece of the pie.
And it seems to be working. Reuters reported today that the firm said its 2007 performance would exceed previous guidance and that it confirmed its mid-term targets until 2012.
According to the report, Lonza expects annual sales growth of 8 to 12 per cent and operating profit growth of 15 to 20 per cent through to 2012.
The company generated revenues of CHF2.9bn ($2.4bn) in 2006.