Thermo Fisher says buoyant demand prompted clinical lab expansion

Thermo Fisher Scientific is embarking on a clinical bioanalytical lab expansion thanks to "buoyant" pipelines and continued demand.

The technology and services firm announced the $97 million plan this week, with bioanalytical laboratory operations expanding into three new locations in the greater Richmond region in Virginia.

Christopher Fikry, M.D., president of analytical services for Thermo Fisher Scientific, said the company continues to see an increasing demand, especially for laboratory services.

“In line with our labs’ five-year growth plan, we are growing our bioanalytical lab operations in Richmond, as well as our good manufacturing practices (GMP), central, vaccine sciences and biomarker labs operations across the globe," Fikry said. 

The Richmond expansion will include a site next to the PPD bioanalytical laboratory in Henrico County, a second at a nearby plot previously occupied by a retail store and a third at the VA Bio+Tech Park. The initial plan is to add immunochemistry and chromatography capabilities. However, Thermo also plans to add biomarker analysis and vaccines science capacity.

Fikry said demand for clinical immunochemistry, chromatography, biomarker and vaccine science services is increasing, adding, “development pipelines remain buoyant and outsourcing remains a critical mechanism to accelerate drug development.

“This expansion will provide additional capacity for existing analytical capabilities in the immunochemistry and chromatography space, in addition to supporting our continued growth in vaccines and cell and gene therapy work," he said. 

In all, the expansion will add nearly 150,000 square feet of lab space across the sites. The project—which is backed by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership—will see the firm hire more than 500 employees over the next three years.

At present, the operations in Richmond, which Thermo Fisher gained with the acquisition of PPD last year, provide services for the development of small-molecule drugs, biologics and vaccines as well as biomarker testing. It also has capacity for pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, immunogenicity and biomarker quantitation. Currently, Thermo Fisher employs more than 1,200 people in the region.