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WuXi Biologics inks lease agreement for 3rd U.S. facility in global expansion push

WuXi Biologics is in the midst of gung-ho global expansion effort to spread the CDMO’s roots outside of its Chinese home base. Only a month after announcing its first major U.S. investment, WuXi Biologics has now knocked together two major lease agreements in short succession. 

WuXi Biologics signed a 10-year lease agreement to occupy a 66,000-square-foot clinical manufacturing facility in Cranbury, New Jersey, that will become its third plant in the U.S., the CDMO said Monday. 

The Cranbury facility will eventually employ 100 and will be fully operational by the end of 2020, WuXi said. The facility will include 6,000 liters of bioreactor space along with process development and quality control labs and other supporting functions. 

WuXi Biologics’ entry into the Cranbury hub comes quickly after the Chinese CDMO announced plans to occupy two other facilities in the Northeast. 

In May, WuXi clinched a deal to build its first U.S. biologics facility at a 46-acre master-planned manufacturing hub dubbed The Reactory in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

The two-story, 107,000-square-foot facility will cost $60 million and employ 150 when it is fully operational in 2022, WuXi said in a release. According to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, the Worcester City Council in January inked a 20-year, $11.5 million tax increment financing plan to coax WuXi, which will be the The Reactory’s first occupant.

WuXi targeted the greater Boston area for its “talented workforce and impressive biotech network,” WuXi Biologics CEO Chris Chen, Ph.D., said at the time. 

“We stand ready and able to help our global partners advance their innovative and life-saving ideas,” Chen said. “Together, I am confident that we have much to contribute to the biologics industry and patients worldwide.”

In May, WuXi followed up that big investment with a lease agreement for a 33,000-square-foot process development lab in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, the CDMO said. 

WuXi’s U.S. push is part of its effort to expand globally. In April 2018, WuXi said it would lay out $392 million to build a biologics facility in Dundalk, Ireland, and create a campus of 2.8 million square feet. That project, its first outside of China, has been in the works for several years and snagged support from Ireland’s development agency. The Dundalk plant will eventually employ 400.

In October 2019, WuXi said it would also build a 15,520-square-meter, three-story vaccines manufacturing facility at the Dundalk site. WuXi said it would produce $150 million worth of vaccines a year for 20 years as part of a $3 billion deal with unnamed partner.

Plus, WuXi has expansion plans in Germany; in January, it announced a deal to take over a Bayer plant in that company’s home city of Leverkusen.

WuXi said it would use the facility for its own purposes but also to provide backup supply for Bayer’s hemophilia drug Kovaltry if needed.