Boehringer Ingelheim has unveiled a €230 million ($268 million) investment in its biologics capacity. The investment will support the construction of a biologics development center at Boehringer's R&D site in Biberach, Germany.
Building the center will enable Boehringer to bring together multiple groups into a single unit. Staff focused on analytical and process development aspects of biologics will work alongside teams tasked with manufacturing materials for Boehringer's clinical trials. The site will also provide more capacity than is available today, equipping Boehringer to handle the shift in its pipeline from small molecules to biologics.
“The share of new biological entities in Boehringer Ingelheim’s research pipeline has been consistently increasing over the past few years and has now reached 40%,” Fridtjof Traulsen, Ph.D., corporate senior vice president development at Boehringer, said in a statement.
Work on the center is now underway with a view to getting it ready for a staggered opening starting in 2020. Once the center is up to full speed, it will house 500 staff, around 100 more than Boehringer employs in biologics development today. As well as centralizing and increasing biologic development capabilities, Boehringer foresses the site freeing up capacity for contract manufacturing.
Biberach is one of a number of locations to benefit from Boehringer’s move into biologics in recent years. Since committing around €500 million to build a large-scale biopharma production plant in Austria late in 2015, Boehringer has broken ground on a $217 million expansion in California and put up €70 million to start establishing biologics manufacturing capacity in China.
Once the series of construction projects is complete, Boehringer will have spent close to €1 billion on upgrading its network of biologics development and manufacturing facilities. That outlay reflects the growing importance of biologics in some of Boehringer's therapeutic areas of focus, including cancer and immunology.