Wuxi Biologics to Take Bayer Plant at Leverkusen
Shanghai, China-based Wuxi Biologics has taken a long lease on one of Bayer’s finished drug plants at Leverkusen, Germany, and will buy the plant’s equipment. The facility’s 24 employees will remain with the Bayer group, transferring to other units.
The deal, for which financial terms were not disclosed, also sees the Chinese biotech providing backup supply, if needed, for Bayer's recombinant Factor VIII hemophilia drug Kovaltry currently being produced in Berkeley, California, USA.
Earlier plans called for transferring Kovaltry production to Germany but Bayer later reversed course in favor of concentrating production of all its Factor VIII products in California. Due to overcapacity and newer competitive products, however, only one plant plant is needed, it explained.
Commenting on the arrangement with Bayer, WuXi Biologics CEO Chris Chen said it will give his company quick access to high quality drug product manufacturing capacities and capabilities.
Before the chance to acquire the Leverkusen plant arose, Wuxi previously expected to open its first European biologics plant in Ireland. Under the plans announced in 2018 and still on track, the Chinese firm is building a biologics plant at Dundalk, Ireland, at a cost of €325 million ($392 million).
The facility, planned to be completed in 2021, will employ 400 people. The project being called the world’s largest facility to run on single-use bioreactors is receiving financial support from Ireland’s development agency.
Separately, a Wuxi joint venture is building a vaccine plant next to the biologics facility. The Dundalk campus will also include by a gene-sequencing unit, WuXi NextCODE, as part of a deal struck with Genomics Medicine Ireland in 2019.
Wuxi already operates what it touts as China’s largest bioprocessing plant at Wuxi City and has said it intends to continue expanding its global capacity. Altogether, the company said it plans to add 180,000 l of bioreactor capacity by 2022.