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AstraZeneca earmarks $285m for Swedish biologics expansion

Expectsnew Södertälje manufacturing plant to be up and running by 2019

AstraZeneca Södertälje Sweden

AstraZeneca will spend $285m on a new biologics manufacturing facility in Södertälje, Sweden that it plans to have fully up and running by 2019.

The plant will focus on the filling and packaging of protein therapeutics and, from 2018, supplying medicines for the clinical trial programmes of AZ and its MedImmune subsidiary.

Pascal Soriot, AZ's 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."

MedImmune is also working on the anti-PD-L1 antibody MEDI4736, which has shown potential in a wide variety of cancers, including lung cancer, melanoma, pancreatic cancer and renal cell cancer, and formed one of the cornerstones of AZ's defence against a takeover bid from Pfizer.

The Anglo-Swedish company's biologics pipeline also includes a number of orphan drugs, including uveal melanoma treatment selumetinib and tremelimumab for malignant mesothelioma.

AZ's biologics manufacturing investment in Södertälje, which is still subject to local approvals, will create 150-250 skilled new roles at the site by 2019. The new investment there follows AZ's decision in November to expand its current US biologics manufacturing centre in Frederick, Maryland.

Södertälje, which faced deep cuts three years ago when R&D work at the site was halted, is currently home to AZ's largest global tablets and capsules manufacturing facility.

Jan-Olof Jacke, president of 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."

Article by
Dominic Tyer

19th May 2015

From: Research

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