Dutch life sciences company DSM has broken ground on a new site in Montreal, Canada, set to become a large-scale biopharmaceuticals plant.
Essentially, the new high-tech facility will be built in two phases and will be used for the production of monoclonal antibodies (MABs) and recombinant proteins based on mammalian cell culture technology - a growing segment of the pharmaceutical industry.
At a cost of €100 million, phase one of the project - due to be live by mid 2005 - features the construction of the full shell with all necessary infrastructure and the installation of the initial 30,000 litre lines.
According to the company, the motivation behind this massive investment is the desire to expand R&D and production facilities of DSM Biologics from the current capacity of up to 2,000 litres to 30,000 litres in two fermentors.
"The decision reflects DSM's strategic ambition to become a globally leading Custom Manufacturing Organisation (CMO) for biopharmaceutical products," said Feike Sijbesma, member of the managing board of DSM.
For Sijbesma, the manufacturing of DSM Biologics in the Netherlands and Canada, together with the matching facilities for sterile dosage forms at DSM Pharmaceuticals in North Carolina 'represent a unique and comprehensive range of services provided by DSM, thereby strengthening DSM's leading position as a supplier to the pharma industry.'
DSM Biologics is a joint venture of DSM and SGF, a business development company based in Montreal that holds a minority stake. Commenting on the new state of the art plant, Dr Francis Bellido, CEO of SGF Santé said : "This expansion gives Montreal, Québec and Canada a strong leadership position in North America in the biotech sector.
DSM Biologics decision to choose Montreal is a clear indicator that Canada has all the strengths and attributes required to attract forward-looking global biotechnology companies and internationally renowned scientists."