With rapid growth of cell and gene therapy development comes shortages and bottlenecks the require specialized manufacturing capability associated with this growth. Hence, Thermo Fischer Scientific’s recent announcement of an $180 million expansion of its viral vector development and manufacturing services capacity with the construction of a site in Plainville, MA. Upon completion, the life sciences-focused vendor will have doubled its viral vector capacity: again, they are responding to the market’s demands for the development and manufacture of gene therapies and vaccines.
The 290,000 square foot facility will be completed by 2022 and will lead to over 200 job positions and complements recent updates of expanded capacity in Lexington and Cambridge MA and Alachua, FA. TrialSite News‘ breakdown is provided below.
What are some of the key drivers for this expansion?
An explosion in gene therapy development in the biotechnology sector. Note Boston/Cambridge is one of the top global hubs for this sector. But other factors include the company’s “start here, stay here’ strategy in that they want to ensure that their customers enjoy an “uninterrupted pathway from development through commercialization” reported Michael Lagarde, executive vice president of Thermo Fisher Scientific. He continued, “Between Plainville and our other expanded sites in the U.S., we’re increasing viral vector production to accelerate cell and gene therapy innovation, giving hope to more patients everywhere.”
What is value-added about this facility?
It will offer a flexible and scalable configuration supporting laboratory and production activity with adjacent access to warehousing and office space. By introducing an onsite engineering laboratory, clients can work with the vendor to develop turnkey production platforms enabling what is in theory a rapid transition to commercial-scale operations upon readiness. The company positions “digital connectivity and capabilities” leading to operational efficiencies.
EVP Lagarde offered there is a “global race to develop new transformative medicines” and those vendors that can offer clients “surge capacity” and associated “flexibility” to help them adjust and change therapeutic platforms “whether they are developing a new viral vector for a novel therapy or the next life-saving cancer treatment.”
What kinds of roles/jobs will this new facility attract?
The demands for talent will be considerable as the next wave of biotech R&D and commercialization is powered by heretofore not possible technologies and processes. Hence, a diversified team of scientists, quality control specialists, specialized cell and gene manufacturing subject matter experts are in high demand. The company plans on capitalizing on its sizeable talent pool in the Boston area.
Thermo Fisher Scientific Profile
Formed by a merger in 2006, the Waltham, MA-based Thermo Fisher Scientific is a maker of scientific instrumentation, reagents and consumables as well as software and services to healthcare, life sciences and other laboratories in academia, government and industry. The company generates about $25 billion in revenue and traded under the symbol “TMO” at $340.05 per share enjoys a market capitalization of $131.9 billion. They are at near historic highs and employ about 75,000.
The market for cell and gene therapy production heats up worldwide as expansions are announced by multiple companies. These market participants include Brammer Bio, Paragon Bioservices (acquired by Catalent), Danaher, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, Ampersand, Vibalogics, Hitachi Chemical and apecth Biopharma.