Isn’t there an end to Fujifilm’s spending spree to boost its manufacturing capacity?
Wednesday, the company revealed it will acquire a cell therapy factory from Atara Biotherapeutics for 100 million dollars. The 90,000 square foot facility in Thousand Oaks, Calif., is “easily expandable,” according to the company, and has the flexibility to produce clinical and commercial treatments, including allogeneic T-cell and CAR-T immunotherapies.
As part of the agreement, the company’s CDMO arm, Fujifilm Diosynth, will enter into a long-term manufacturing agreement to help produce treatments in Atara’s clinical pipeline, which includes tabelecleucel for the treatment of the disease. lymphoproliferative positive for Epstein-Barr virus following a transplant.
Fujifilm has announced its intention to offer positions to the factory’s 140 current employees. “The team’s collective expertise will further support our efforts as a world-class CDMO,” Martin Meeson, CEO of Fujifilm Diosynth, said in a statement.
RELATED: Fujifilm Begins Construction on Massive NC Factory, Latest in Its Multibillion-Dollar CDMO Expansion Effort
It was with great fanfare that Atara opened the factory in June 2018. But two years later the company partnered with Bayer to work on ready-to-use T-cell immunotherapy for lung cancers. . Last year, Bayer revealed plans for a separate $200 million cell therapy plant in Berkeley.
“We believe the time is right to establish a strategic relationship with Fujifilm to give us access to the expert manufacturing capability that Atara will need, should the need arise,” said Atara CEO Pascal Touchon. “We will now further focus our capital resources on the development and commercialization of our pipeline of first-in-kind therapies for serious diseases. »
For Fujifilm Diosynth, the new facility will complement a cell therapy manufacturing site in College Station, Texas, and another under construction in Watertown, Massachusetts. The company also opened a massive $2 billion factory in Holly Springs, North Carolina three months ago that will employ 725 people and is said to be the largest end-to-end biologics production facility in the world. .
“We’re spending so much because we need that capacity to support our partners with the projects they have,” Meeson told Fierce Pharma at the time.
In June 2020, Fujifilm pledged to invest $928 million at Diosynth’s Hillerod, Denmark site to double its cell culture manufacturing capacity and add drug production lines. A year earlier, Fujifilm acquired the Biogen site for $890 million.
And last month, Fujifilm said it was pumping $300 million into expanding its College Station site. The company plans to add 150 employees as part of the upgrade, which is expected to be completed by 2024, making it the “largest single-use CDMO production campus in North America.”
Meanwhile, Fujifilm Diosynth has detailed its plan to invest $533 million in its factory in Teesside, UK, which will expand the site’s capabilities in biologics, viral gene therapy, production of mRNA and more.