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Allergan, Merck KGaA and Sai Life Sciences Invest in New Global Manufacturing Facilities

Ahead of its pending $63 billion merger with AbbVie, Allergan marked the opening of a new €160 million state-of-the-art Biologics facility at in County Mayo, Ireland. The new site provided 63 new jobs to support Allergan’s flagship products, particularly the blockbuster aesthetics and migraine medication Botox.

The new facility in Ireland, dubbed Biologics 2, includes new manufacturing suites to meet growing global demand for Allergan’s flagship products. The company said the facility will support the next generation of biologics innovation and will feature a new state-of-the-art microbiology and cell-based laboratory with world-class technology and research and development capabilities to support advances in discovery, development and manufacturing.  

The opening of the new facility comes a few weeks after AbbVie and Allergan announced a new, stand-alone company called Allergan Aesthetics that will include Botox as a tent pole. The new division of AbbVie will include Botox, as well as the Juvederm collection of dermal fillers, the CoolSculpting body contouring treatments and other aesthetic products. It will also have its own research and development functions to continue to build out its aesthetics programs.

When the new Biologics 2 facility officially kicked off operations, Allergan said the occasion was marked by the shipping of the 100 millionth vial of Botox from the Westport campus. The shipping occurred as the Ireland-based company that will soon become part of AbbVie celebrated the 30th anniversary of the approval of Botox in the United States.

Wayne Swanton, head of global operations at Allergan, said the new site will provide growth opportunity for the new Allergan Aesthetics company and its botulinum toxin brand and other biologics products.

Paul Coffey, head of global manufacturing for eye care and biologics at Allergan, said the new investment in the Ireland-based facility “underpins” the company’s commitment to advancements in the biologics arena.

“Our new biologics facility, added to our existing biologics facility, will allow us to meet continued global demand for Allergan’s flagship products.  With the addition of a new microbiology and cell-based laboratory too, the team here in Westport are looking forward to contributing to product innovations that will make a difference to patients’ lives all over the world and maintain our position at the forefront of the global biopharma industry,” Coffey said in a statement.

Allergan isn’t the only company expanding its footprint in Europe. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany plunked down $275 million to open a facility in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland, The Biotech Development Center will focus on biotech development and manufacturing for clinical studies. According to the report, the new facility will “help to sustainably secure capacity and high agility to deliver clinical trial material in a cost-effective way, contribute to accelerated development timelines of new biological entities, and address the increasing manufacturing complexity of the next generations of biotech compounds.”

The new 168,993-square-foot site is located near an existing Merck commercial manufacturing site in Corsier-sur-Vevey. The company will have about 250 employees across both sites, according to the report.

“This investment in the Merck Biotech Development Center reflects our commitment to speed up the availability of new medicines for patients in need, and confirms the importance of Switzerland as our prime hub for the manufacturing of biotech medicines,” Stefan Oschmann, chief executive officer and chairman of Merck KGaA said in a statement.

Merck’s facility in Switzerland follows other site investments including the expansions of the R&D facility of Billerica, United States, of the biotech manufacturing site of Aubonne, Switzerland, and of the pharma manufacturing site of Darmstadt, Germany.

In India, Sai Life Sciences also announced that it has started recruiting more than 300 scientists for its upcoming integrated Research & Technology center in Hyderabad, India. This will result in doubling the full-time equivalents in the areas of discovery chemistry, process chemistry and analytical chemistry. The new 83,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to be operational by May of this year. The new site adds to the company's growing range of capabilities and facilities across drug discovery, development and manufacturing.

Over the past few months, Sai Life Sciences has added 172 KL cGMP API & Intermediate manufacturing capacity, opened a Biology Lab in Cambridge, Mass. and is setting up a Process R&D Lab in Manchester, U.K.

Written by: Alex Keown

Published on: Jan 29, 2020


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