WuXi STA aims to ‘add one API plant every year’, says VP

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Oatawa)
(Image: Getty/Oatawa)

Related tags WuXi STA China Wuxi apptec

STA Pharmaceutical sees building out its own manufacturing infrastructure as a stronger growth plan compared to pursuing acquisitions.

The company, a subsidiary of WuXi AppTec (WuXi STA), is focused on expanding its manufacturing presence through build-outs but will also look for opportunities to enter new geographic regions, Yu Lu, VP of business operations at WuXi STA, told us.

Rather than growing by acquiring companies, which Lu noted often meant owning a number of different sites, operating differently but under the same name, WuXi STA is focused on building its own network. Currently, the company is working on a major expansion in Changzhou, China.

“In Changzhou, we have space to house 500 process chemists and analysts to work on API development, right now – it's already half full. We also have three small molecule plants in production and we plan to build five more in the next three to five years. We add, on average, one API plant every year,"​ Lu explained.

Lu maintained that one of the company’s key strengths, as a contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO), is having integrated R&D and manufacturing operations that are located in close proximity.

"Locations are really important, we think it's imperative to have the development chemists and the manufacturing production team to be in close proximity, so that they can have close communications and shorten overall manufacturing timelines,”​ Lu said.

Beyond expanding its manufacturing network, the company secured two regulatory boosts to its operations in China this year – receiving both its first new drug approval​ and positive inspection​ from the US Food and Drug Administration.

In addition to building its network within China, the company has added a site in San Diego, US, which Lu told us is focused on early-stage clinical trial materials. Though Lu did not disclose any concrete plans for the company to expand further in the US or into Europe, she stated that the company is “constantly evaluating new technologies globally​.

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