The new $10m (€7.6m) cell science lab – at Kerry’s facility in Beloit, Wisconsin – will develop medias for cell cultures, vaccines and microbial fermentation, and is expected to create 50 new jobs when fully operational in August.
Spokesman Hans Huttinga told in-Pharmatechnologist.com that despite its focus on the food production industry Kerry has experience in media development for biomanufacturing applications.
“With Kerry's expertise as a supplier of media ingredients to six of the top ten blockbusters [drugs] we have an excellent reputation and knowledge of what's relevant for increasing the yield in biopharmaceutical production systems.”
Huttinga cited industry demand for cell culture development and microbial fermentation at Kerry’s laboratories in Ithaca, US and Almere in the Netherlands as an important driver for its decision to build the new lab and expand its service offering.
“Those labs are heavily involved in customer media optimization projects with large biopharmaceutical Companies from all over the world. These companies are very committed to use the concepts that we developed for the production of their next blockbuster stimulating Kerry to offer these projects as a service.”
He added that Kerry will be looking for researchers with knowledge and capabilities in both microbial fermentation and mammalian cell culture development.
News of the expansion comes just a few months after the Irish firm bought Cargill’s flavours division in a deal which – while focused on the food sector – did include several technologies used in drug production, such as the Maxens range of taste masking excipients.
Huttinga cited both the culture lab expansion and the Cargill acquisition indications of Kerry’s plans to build in the pharmaceutical production sector.
“Cargill's portfolio nicely complements our extensive excipient product line and you can be sure that Kerry is continuously looking for other value added technologies in the pharma market."