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U.K. manufacturer Abzena pumps $60M into new biologics facility in San Diego

The biologics market has been a bustling one in recent years, with some of the biggest players in the contract manufacturing field dropping 10-figure down payments on new facilities. Now, U.K. CDMO Abzena is making its own relatively modest foray into biologics.

Abzena will spend $60 million to build a new 50,000-square-foot facility in San Diego to expand the site’s offerings from early-stage to commercial biologics, Abzena said in a release.

The new “Lusk” facility will eventually employ an additional 125 workers, and it will house a 7,400-square-foot development laboratory and two manufacturing cleanrooms for 500-, and 2,000-liter single-use bioreactors, Abzena said.

Prior to the expansion, Abzena’s existing San Diego facilities only handled manufacturing for early-stage biologics, but they will now offer start-to-finish services for clients. The expansion will mirror another Abzena facility in Bristol, Pennsylvania, that offers similar early-clinical to commercial-stage manufacturing.

Abzena began building its San Diego presence when it swept up U.S. manufacturer PacificGMP in an $8.4 million deal back in September 2015.

Pacific’s offerings at the time of the acquisition included monoclonal antibodies, recombinant proteins, vaccines and cell therapy products, as well manufacturing services that included conjugation of antibodies and proteins and fill-finish work.

Abzena’s newest play in biologics comes as other manufacturers are making major splashes in the space. Samsung Biologics, for instance, is plotting a $2 billion “super plant” in South Korea to consolidate its presence in the booming market.

In August, Samsung announced its plans for the massive facility at its Incheon, South Korea, hub, with a footprint as large as its other three facilities combined.

The ambitious facility will encompass 2.56 million square feet of floor space and 256,000 liters of capacity—nearly doubling the CDMO’s overall capacity to 620,000 liters, Samsung said. The plant is set to go online in 2022.

Driven by a boost in sales tied to COVID-19, Samsung is angling for an additional campus in Incheon on 81.5 acres of land. The new site in the Incheon Free Economic Zone would become an “Open Innovation center to foster biotech companies and build a global R&D facility in addition to securing space for future plants within the new complex,” Samsung said.