Thermo Fisher expands Scottish manufacturing site

Posted on 17 Jun 2015 by Jonny Williamson

Thermo Fisher Scientific has expanded its existing campus in Inchinnan, Scotland with the addition of a new £14m facility to produce dry powder media used in the production of drugs and vaccines for diseases such as influenze and dengue fever.

The product, sold by Thermo Fisher as Gibco Advanced Granulation Technology (AGT) Cell Culture Media, is a crucial cell culture raw material used to manufacture biologics, including vaccines, anti-cancer therapeutics and other life-saving drugs.

Using AGT media offers biologics producers the benefits of traditional liquid media without the associated cost, storage and transportation issues.

The company said the £14m investment will increase its capabilities to support the rising demand for its cell culture products and reinforces Thermo Fisher’s supply chain of the raw material for customers in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the Americas and Asia.

The new facility will add to the Inchinnan site’s existing manufacturing operations, which produce liquid media for a range of research and production applications, and complement another Thermo Fisher facility in New York.

The company’s AGT products are slated to be used in the production of a new influenza drug, and were recently used in the manufacture of a drug candidate to fight dengue fever, which affects more than 2m people in Africa each year.

Both examples illustrate the growing need among pharmaceutical companies for a reliable stream of cell culture media

The new factory has also been designed for future expansion with features including a removable external wall, allowing new equipment to be installed quickly to scale up production.

President of EMEA Life Sciences Solutions for Thermo Fisher, Mark Smedley commented: “This is a strategically important facility that will secure supplies for our target markets all over the world.

“It’s important to choose the right location for a factory of this significance, and we felt the depth of experience, skills and expertise at Inchinnan made it the perfect place to make this investment.”

Gibco AGT cell culture media is used in a large number of commercial and late-phase drugs. This offering provides biopharmaceutical customers and Contract Manufacturing Organisation (CMO) partners with a ready-to-use media format that eliminates time-consuming steps in media preparation and uses only Animal Origin Free (AOF) components.

Managing director of Scottish Development International and Scottish Enterprise International Operations, Paul Lewis added: “Scotland is already home to a thriving life sciences cluster which is recognised worldwide as one of the most accessible, well-connected and collaborative in Europe.

“It’s major investments like this that allow us to continue to attract ambitious, international companies such as Thermo Fisher to not only locate in Scotland but to strengthen their business base here and to invest in long-term growth.”

This investment is linked to ongoing support from Scottish Enterprise to assist Thermo Fisher in expanding the company’s global manufacturing network.