Thermo Fisher will make a total investment of $97m (€99m) to the site that is based in Richmond, Virginia, with the new bioanalytical lab comprising part of this capital allocation. According to the company, the lab space will be used to provide laboratory services in the drug development process.
The overall project to expand the Richmond location will see the company add approximately 150,000-square-feet of space and more than 500 employees.
The specific aim of the new facility is to add liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, as well as additional advances in drug discovery thorough biomarkers, immunochemistry, vaccines, and cell and gene therapies services.
Currently, the site employs 1,300 professionals, including scientists, analytical laboratory staff and other professionals. After the most recent expansion, the lab services operations in Richmond covers more than 350,000-square-feet of space, which the company stated makes it one of the largest laboratories of its kind.
David Johnston, SVP of clinical research at Thermo Fisher, stated that 70% of data generated in clinical trials comes from analytical laboratory testing, highlighting the importance of this stage of drug development. He added that the company plans to continue to expand lab capacity.
In terms of the attraction of the location, Virginia Governor, Glenn Youngkin stated, “This sector has gained significant momentum in the Commonwealth due to our research institutions, skilled talent and advanced innovation ecosystem, and we are proud of the company’s developments happening right here in Virginia.”
Thermo Fisher’s Richmond lab has been operating since 1985 and was added to the company’s network through its $17.4bn acquisition of PPD, last year. The lab provides services for all phases of development for small molecule drugs, biologics, vaccines and biomarker testing.
Previously, CEO of Thermo Fisher, Marc Casper, told the Morgan Stanley 20th Annual Global Healthcare Conference that acquiring PPD’s assets and customers had immediately led to a benefit to the overall business, allowing the company to raise its revenue forecast for the division.
During the same conference, Casper outlined how the response to COVID-19 “had an extraordinary positive contribution to our economics.” In turn, he explained how this enabled the company to ‘pull forward’ a series of capital investments, which allowed the company to accelerate its long-term strategic plan.