China's WuXi dials up its R&D presence at home and abroad

WuXi PharmaTech ($WX), China's largest CRO, is upping its capacity in its two largest markets, wrapping up an expansion of a U.S. early-stage operation and breaking ground on an R&D campus outside of Shanghai.

In China, the CRO is plotting to build out a hybrid research and manufacturing outpost in Changzhou, a site that will eventually employ more than 1,500 people, providing services from process development through commercial production. The first phase of the campus should come online by the end of 2015, WuXi said, effectively doubling the company's current manufacturing capacity.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the company has completed an add-on to its materials characterization testing facility in St. Paul, MN, adding 20,000 square feet of lab space devoted to particle identification and other FDA-required safety testing services for biologics and medical devices. WuXi expects to open the doors on the new addition next month.

Both investments come on the heels of soaring demand for WuXi's manufacturing services, which have quadrupled in revenue over the past four years. Last year, the company's manufacturing division jumped 25.8%, part of an overall 15.6% leap in sales.

Now the CRO is looking to keep that momentum going into 2014, expecting full-year revenue to come in between $660 million and $670 million, good for up to 16% annual growth. WuXi is forecasting annual earnings per share from $1.68 to $1.73, and the company expects to spend about $85 million on capital expenditures, looking to expand its small-molecule manufacturing and invest in new labs.

- read the Changzhou release
- here's the St. Paul announcement

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