Space to innovate: where are biotech’s top expansions?

Builders checking plans

Expansions to laboratory space throughout the drug discovery industry can only be a good thing – new centres of innovation will bring more space to grow, more advanced technologies, improved sustainability and new employment opportunities. 

While there have been a significant number of new facilities built in the US, there have also been notable expansions for companies in India, the UK and Switzerland, among others. As the sector continues to grow, we share the latest news on which companies are adding new or developing existing office and lab spaces.

Midwest laboratory development

Altasciences’ laboratory facilities in Columbia, MO (US), are undergoing a significant expansion, with completion expected in 2023. The new 8,000-square-foot space will mirror Altasciences’ current bioanalytical laboratory in Laval, Québec (Canada), with equipment dedicated to mass spectrometry. flow cytometry, and others, alongside bioanalytical capabilities.

“We are very excited about the laboratory expansion at our Columbia site. With this additional full-service, state-of-the-art bioanalytical and flow cytometry laboratory, we look forward to continuing to provide our usual high-quality, timely analyses of study samples for our clients,” said Lynne Le Sauteur, Vice President, Laboratory Sciences, at Altasciences.

The bioanalytical laboratory will contain 48 workbenches in an open space, with services that include mass spectrometry and ligand binding assays, flow cytometry, biomarkers, as well as cell culture.

Rapid expansion in India

Contract research organisation (CRO) Emmes has rapidly expanded its capabilities in India during the last two years. 

Emmes’ India operations are headquartered in Bengaluru with an additional office in Ahmedabad. The company’s operations in India have seen surging growth with local revenue increasing by 400% and global study revenue increasing by more than 50%.

“Our teams have worked on a number of global clinical trials in close collaboration with the wider organisation and, of course, on several Covid-19 trials. However, what is perhaps less known is that we have also seen significant growth from innovators in India and have led numerous clinical trials here,” commented Archana Sarda, Managing Director, Emmes India.

CLIMBing to new heights

Beckman researchers have received federal funding to establish the Center for Label-free Imaging and Multi-scale Biophotonics (CLIMB). 

Researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will establish a new national collaborative Biomedical Technology Research Resource to develop label-free optical imaging technologies for medical and biological applications.

“Traditionally, people have used dyes, stains, and labels in microscopy to provide contrast, but those can be toxic and interfere with the cells and the very processes we are investigating. The questions arose: ‘What signals can we extract from cells, molecules, and tissues in a label-free manner? What are their inherent optical properties?’ If we can take advantage of that, it can lead to many benefits,” said Stephen Boppart, a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Bioengineering.

Europe and US CGT labs expand 

Lonza has announced it will expand its cell and gene therapies (CGT) process and analytical development laboratories at its locations in Houston (US) and Geleen (Netherlands) by the end of the year. 

In Houston, the expansion includes 15,000 ft2 of new laboratory suites, while Lonza’s Geleen facility will add over 4,500 ft2 of laboratory space.

Behnam Ahmadian Baghbaderani, Executive Director, Global Process Development, Cell & Gene Technologies, Lonza, commented: “We expect this newly added capacity to provide Lonza’s CGT Development Services asset with extensive room to grow and serve the growing needs of our customers. With the expansion, Lonza Cell & Gene Technologies will offer various early- and late-phase development services in one of the largest process development laboratories in the field.”

Science and innovation campus

Mission Street and BentallGreenOak (BGO) have revealed plans for a world-class science and innovation campus, following the acquisition of a 23-acre site on Coldham’s Lane in Cambridge (UK).

The platform now has a development pipeline of over 1m sq. ft. of lab and office space in key strategic UK locations with initial schemes in Oxford and Cambridge due for completion in mid-2023.

Artem Korolev, Founder and CEO of Mission Street, commented: “This new acquisition provides the potential to deliver the most centrally located science and innovation district in Cambridge. The site will provide the opportunity to deliver our vision for the next generation of commercial science real estate in the UK: integrating the scheme into Cambridge’s urban fabric, with collaboration and sustainability at its heart.”

Renewable manufacturing

ten23 health has completed the superstructure of its new purpose-built, sterile manufacturing facility in Visp (Switzerland).

A unique feature of the new facility is photovoltaic façade, covering the complete building exteriors, and able to provide 45’000 kW per year. ten23 health’s facilities in Basel and Visp already operate with 100% renewable energy.

Prof Dr Hanns-Christian Mahler, CEO of ten23 health, commented: “The completion of the initial phase of construction is a major milestone for ten23 health, our customers and their patients, and towards providing a significant amount of capacity for commercial and clinical sterile medicines for patients. In addition to securing renewable energy for the facility, we are investing in photovoltaics across the whole façade.”

Leveraging the talent of San Diego

Rejuvenate Bio has opened a new office in San Diego (US), to help accelerate the discovery and development of gene therapies for human and animal health. The office will support all functions including business development and clinical operations functions.

“The launch of our new office in this leading biotech hub, allows us to aggressively pursue our business development efforts and leverage the talent and expertise San Diego offers,” said Daniel Oliver, CEO & Co-Founder, Rejuvenate Bio. “This will help with our recruiting efforts, as we launch our first clinical gene therapy trial in humans next year.”

The office is in a standalone building of 15,500 square feet, approximately 6,000 square feet of which is new lab space.

Cell therapy manufacturing facility

Charles River Laboratories International has expanded its cell therapy contract development and manufacturing (CDMO) facility in Memphis, Tenn (US). 

The expanded space is suitable for clinical and commercial cell therapy manufacturing, with an additional nine  processing suites, adding to an existing 16 cleanrooms.

“This expansion builds on the Memphis site’s demonstrable expertise and commitment to supporting cell and gene therapy clients from early target identification through clinical and commercial-scale manufacturing. We look forward to continuing close partnerships with our clients and supporting projects to bring these potentially curative therapies to patients.”

The Memphis facility has been named as the first CDMO in North America to receive EMA approval to commercially produce allogeneic cell therapy drug products.

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