FUJIFILM Putting $188M, 100+ Jobs Into RTP Cell Culture Manufacturing Facility


FUJIFILM Corporation is investing $188 million in a cell culture media manufacturing facility in Research Triangle Park, adding more than 100 new jobs.

The president, CEO and representative director of the huge Japanese conglomerate, Teiichi Goto, said in a news release this morning that the 250,000-square-foot Wake County site in Research Triangle Park will be operated by FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific, Inc., one of the many subsidiaries of FUJIFILM Corporation.

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Other FUJIFILM subsidiaries already established in North Carolina include FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies in RTP and Holly Springs. The parent company, FUJIFILM Holdings Corp. of Tokyo, is a global conglomerate with chemical, mechanical, optical, electronic and imaging technologies that are used in healthcare, graphic systems, materials, optical devices, digital imaging and document products.

FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific labels itself as “a world leader in the development and manufacture of advanced cell-culture solutions for life sciences research, bioproduction, cell therapy manufacturing, and medical applications.” 

The company says it's building this new facility in North Carolina “to ensure that FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific can meet increasing market demands for high-quality cell culture media solutions.”

The company says it expects to hire more than 100 people at the facility in a variety of positions, including bioprocessing engineers, manufacturing, production, and logistics roles. This facility will use only a portion of the 64 acres it owns at the site, which leaves plenty of room for growth.

The site will support current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) production of animal-component-free dry powder and liquid media products. When fully operational, it will add production capacity for FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific of 800,000 kilograms a year for dry powder, 3.3 million liters a year for liquid and 40,000 liters a day of Water for Injection (WFI).

FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific says it has experienced rapid growth over the past decade and it expects demand for cell-culture media to support bioproduction and advanced therapies to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 10% to 12% through 2031.

To meet customer demand, the company says it will expand its capacity by building manufacturing facilities in biotech centers around the world, including this one in RTP. The North Carolina facility will triple the company’s current capacity for liquid cell culture media production.

“This strategy ensures a secure supply chain, and rapid, reliable delivery of products through the development of extensive regional supply networks, critical to supporting cell and gene therapies,” the company said in a news release.

The company says it is tapping into a “harmonized quality system and raw material program of FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific,” a regional supply network that enables the company to rapidly adjust to natural disasters or unforeseen issues, and to continue operations and delivery of products to customers worldwide.

“As an area popular with life science companies,” the company added, “RTP in North Carolina was selected as an ideal location, providing enhanced supply-chain security, and for customers in the region, more-efficient shipping and faster delivery.” FUJIFILM’s group also operates cell-culture media manufacturing facilities in California, the Netherlands and the Saitama and Aichi prefectures in Japan.

“FUJIFILM’s intensive investment in the life sciences field represents our commitment to be the dedicated partner for customers in the biopharmaceutical industry,” said Goto. “With the enhanced capabilities of our global manufacturing sites for cell-culture media, we will continuously contribute to customers’ robust manufacturing processes and creation of innovative therapies to make the world a healthier place.”

Yutaka Yamaguchi, chairman and CEO of FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific, added, “Our customers require rapid, reliable delivery of cell-culture media to support their commercial production. The cell-culture media that will be manufactured at this new site in North Carolina will help ensure a steady supply of raw materials for biologics, cell and gene therapies, and other key medicines that are essential to human health. The additional production capacity will ensure we meet the projected demand for cell-culture media from our customers worldwide.”

Katie Stember, Ph.D., director of life science economic development at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, who provided technical support on the project, said, “FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific’s products and services are key for life sciences research. This company’s commitment to consistency and reliability enables a shorter path for new medicines, from clinical trials to commercialization. This expansion will help relieve some of the current global supply-chain constraints for North Carolina researchers and clinicians, and for others around the world who rely on these supplies.”

Wake County Board of Commissioners Chair Sig Hutchinson said, “We’re proud that FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific is the latest company to call the Research Triangle Park home, bringing with it many new job opportunities. Like many other global businesses, FUJIFILM recognizes the value our region offers life sciences companies by providing top talent, easy access to transportation and a quality of life that is second to none.”

Scott Levitan, president and CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation, said, “It is encouraging when companies with a successful experience in Research Triangle Park recognize the advantages and continue to invest and innovate in the Triangle region." He said he was pleased to have collaborated with FUJIFILM Corporation, its consultants, and regional partners at Wake County Economic Development, the Economic Development Partnership of NC, the NC Department of Commerce and NCBiotech on this project.

Land development and construction are scheduled to start in spring 2023 with operation of the facility beginning in 2025.

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