Novo Nordisk has bought a biomanufacturing facility earmarked for closure by Olympus Biotech and begun rehiring staff in order to support its haemophilia product pipeline.
Tokyo, Japan-headquartered firm Olympus announced in February it was exiting the biotech industry and putting its 180,000sq ft West Lebanon, New Hampshire, biologics manufacturing site up for sale. A 90 day deadline passed and the plant was set to close today but Novo Nordisk has stepped in and bought it.
Financial details have not been divulged but Olympus’ VP of Operations Peter Gariepy said in March “the value for the manufacturing plant and related assets has been reduced to a nominal value,” making it an “attractive offer to the Life Sciences industry.”
According to Novo Nordisk’s Senior VP Henrik Wulff, the Danish biopharma company was looking for a site for the future commercial manufacture of its haemophilia pipeline.
N8-GP, a long-acting recombinant coagulation factor VIII derivative, and a factor IX derivative N9-GP for the treatment of to treat haemophilia A and B respectively, are currently in Phase III trials, while its candidate Concizumab - a monoclonal antibody against Tissue Factor Pathway Inhibitor (TFPI) – is in Phase I.
“We were looking to expand production and this FDA approved site fitted into our plans,” he told Biopharma-Reporter.com, with Novo Nordisk particularly attracted by the local expertise and qualified staff.
Nearly 130 people were employed in manufacturing and facility operations - including engineering, development, QA/QC, and validation – at the site, which produced products including the bone morphogenetic protein Osteogenic Protein-1 (OP-1) acquired by Olympus following the acquisition of Stryker Biotech in 2010 .
However, Wulff said Novo Nordisk was looking to re-establish many of the laid-off staff, with 25 employees so far rehired for the initial planning of the future plant setup.
He also told us part of the plant was dormant and for the time being “there are no plans to reactivate it.” However, the company is looking to redesign the rest of the facility with a “heavy period of investment and rebuilding” over the next couple of years.
As for fitting out the plant, Wulff said it would likely have both single-use and stainless steel capabilities in keeping with Novo Nordisk’s in-house production needs.
“We have not decided yet but normally for one product manufacturing we will use stainless steel, though sometimes there is a combination,” he said.