A Biotechnology firm is set to expand its operations at its Teesside site.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has welcomed the news that FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies is expanding its operations in Billingham with additional state-of-the-art laboratories.
The news laboratories will allow FUJIFILM Diosynth to expand their gene therapy development capabilities with the addition of viral vector process development and Good Manufacturing Practice services.
It is expected that the new laboratories will be up and running from spring 2021 and will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology to support upstream (suspension and adherent) processes, downstream processing and analytical development.
The Good Manufacturing Practice capabilities are expected to be available from autumn 2021 and will support bulk drug substance production of drugs used in early-stage clinical trials.
The announcement comes after it was revealed that FUJIFILM’s Billingham facility will manufacture 60 million doses of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, if the current Phase three clinical trial, which is being run from Hartlepool Hospital, proves successful.
In August Mayor Houchen signed off a £4million investment for a new cutting-edge BioCampus at FUJIFILM’s Billingham site.
The new development will include the construction of a 42,000 square foot purpose-built office accommodation and visitor centre as well as additional research and development laboratories and new manufacturing facilities.
Mr Houchen said:
“FUJIFILM are doing fantastic work in our hugely important bioscience sector, creating the skilled jobs we need and leading the way on innovation and this latest investment and expansion shows just how committed they are to Teesside.
“Teesside is already playing a major role in the fight against the coronavirus with plans to manufacture the Novavax vaccine right here in Billingham at the FUJIFILM facility – the only site in the UK where the vaccine will be made should it be approved by regulators.
Mr Houchen added:
“This latest expansion means they will be able to further support early stage drug trial as well as the development of revolutionary gene therapies.
“Teesside might be best known for our world-class expertise in engineering, chemical and processing, but we are also putting ourselves on the world stage thanks to the amazing work done by our bio-scientist.”
Martin Meeson, chief executive officer, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, said:
“This investment for production of early-stage investigational viral vector products is aligned with Fujifilm’s long-term strategy to provide process development and manufacturing solutions for its gene therapy partners.
“We will continue to invest in process development and manufacturing for gene therapies to meet the needs of our clients and drive forward progress in new drug development, to offer new treatment options to patients.
“As a treatment modality, gene therapy holds tremendous promise to revolutionize the way patients are treated. We are committed to supporting our partners in their efforts to bring new therapies to market.”
By Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies