AstraZeneca has announced that it 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 programmes 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 on-site that allow large-scale production of new medicines, working closely with the research and development organization.
By locating the new manufacturing plant in Södertälje, the company will combine its expertise in biologics with the well-established culture of operational excellence that exists within the Sweden Operations unit.
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, said: “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 programme to expand AstraZeneca’s biologics manufacturing capabilities. Further investment decisions are expected to be made in the coming years.
Jan-Olof Jacke, President, AstraZeneca AB, said: “Building what will be a world-class facility in this area is not only important to AstraZeneca but we believe it will also add value to the Swedish and Nordic life sciences sector by enhancing the skills base. Södertälje will also be considered as the location for the next phases of our programme to expand our global biologics manufacturing capacity. In addition to our strong internal capabilities and the access to a highly skilled workforce within the life science sector, we are encouraged by signals from the Swedish Government regarding a competitive and supportive environment for business investment."
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.