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BMS plans major expansion of Orencia plant

Will invest $250m in biologics manufacturing facility

BMS plans major expansion of Orencia plant

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has said it plans to invest around $250m in an expansion of its biologics manufacturing facility in Devens, Massachusetts, that will almost double the site's workforce.

Devens manufactures bulk biologic drugs and is the main site for the production of BMS' fast-growing rheumatoid arthritis treatment Orencia (abatacept), and currently employs around 400 workers.

The expansion will add two new buildings and introduce development and clinical trial manufacturing capabilities to the site while providing employment for approximately 350 additional staff over time.

Construction of around 200,000 square feet of laboratory and office space is due to start later this year – doubling the overall size of the facility – and is set to be completed in 2015.

The announcement consolidates Devens at the heart of BMS' biologics production network. BMS already operates a bulk production facility in Syracuse, New York, and carries out finishing and packaging activities at a plant in Manati, Puerto Rico, whilst also relying on contract manufacturing organisations (CMOs).

BMS said it will begin moving some biologics process development functions closer to Devens during construction, making use of 30,000 square feet of leased lab space in Hopkinton that will be retained after the expansion is finished.

"This initiative is designed to accelerate the development of new biologics medicines through the closer alignment of biologics research and development, and manufacturing," commented Lou Schmukler, BMS' president of global manufacturing and supply.

"Biologics are increasingly important in the treatment of serious diseases and are a growing part of our company's pipeline of potential new therapies," he added. BMS' late-stage pipeline includes nivolumab in multiple phase III trials for lung and renal cancer as well as melanoma, and elotuzumab which has now reached the pivotal trials stage in multiple myeloma.

The Devens site was completed in 2009 and represented the largest capital investment in BMS' history, with a price tag of $750m.

12th April 2013

From: Sales

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