AstraZeneca Plans New Biologics Mfg Facility in Sweden

AstraZeneca plans to invest approximately $285 million in a new high-tech facility for manufacturing of biological medicines in Södertälje, Sweden. The new plant will be focused on filling and packaging of protein therapeutics. It is anticipated that the new facility will supply medicines for clinical trial programs of AstraZeneca and MedImmune, the company's global biologics research and development arm, from the end of 2018, and will deliver finished products for commercial use once fully operational by 2019.

Södertälje is currently home to AstraZeneca's largest global tablets and capsules manufacturing facility and is also a launch platform site for the company, with specialist capabilities onsite that allow large-scale production of new medicines, working closely with the research and development organization. The planned investment will, subject to relevant approvals by the local authorities, create between 150 and 250 highly skilled new roles at AstraZeneca by 2019.

Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer of AstraZeneca said in a company statement. “This is a strategically important investment for AstraZeneca to support the accelerating development of biotech medicines, which now make up around half of our pipeline. We expect to bring a significantly increased number of new specialty care medicines to patients in the coming years, driven in large part by biologics. This new plant will give us greater capacity and flexibility to handle clinical trials, and will also play an important role in our future commercial production.”

The $285 million planned investment is the first phase of a potential three-part program to expand AstraZeneca's biologics manufacturing capabilities. Further investment decisions are expected to be made in the coming years, said the company in a statement.

The new manufacturing facility in Sweden will support the progression of drug candidates across the main therapy areas and be aligned with investments being made in the current biologics manufacturing centers, such as the expansion in Frederick, Maryland, announced in November 2014, where the company is investing more than $200 million project to increase production capacity at the facility to support AstraZeneca's maturing pipeline and to meet future demand for its biologics portfolio. AstraZeneca's Frederick biologics manufacturing center is a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed, large-scale cell-culture production facility with administrative, production, warehouse, laboratory and utility space. The expansion project is expected to be complete in mid-2017, will add approximately 40,000 additional square feet of manufacturing, laboratory, and administrative space. The expansion is also expected to bring a total of 300 new jobs to the site. AstraZeneca's Frederick manufacturing center is the largest biologics manufacturing facility within the company's global network and portfolio of assets and provides cell culture manufacturing. The site currently produces a pediatric medication as well as other investigational biologic products.

In terms of its Swedish operations, AstraZeneca already has a large production site in Södertälje. Its facilities are located in Snäckviken and Gärtuna, where the new biologics facility will be located. Södertälje is also the location for the headquarters of AstraZeneca's Nordic-Baltic marketing company, as well as a number of enabling functions; 3,800 roles are currently based here. The medicines delivered from the company’s Swedish operations account for approximately 35% of AstraZeneca's total sales value. In 2013, AstraZeneca's exports of medicines from Sweden totaled SEK 39 billion ($4.7 billion), which accounted for approximately 3.5% of the total Swedish export of goods.

Source: AstraZeneca


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