Thermo Fisher Adding $74 Million Upgrades to Biomanufacturing Site in Greenville
A Thermo Fisher plant in Greenville that has become one of North Carolina’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers, is getting another $74 million upgrade to support the growing global demand for biomanufacturing services and biologics products.
The expansion of the Eastern North Carolina factory’s prefilled syringe (PFS) and vial-filling lines is part of a $150 million investment in three global fill & finish plants that also includes two in Italy. The company says the expansions will especially support demand for sterile liquid and lyophilized product development and manufacturing.
Lyophilization, also known as freeze-drying, is a process used for preserving biological material by removing the water from it, first freezing it and then drying it, under a vacuum, at very cold temperatures. Lyophilized materials may be shipped more efficiently and stored much longer than untreated biologicals.
Acquired by Thermo Fisher in 2017
The company formerly named Patheon, a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), was acquired in August 2017 by Thermo Fisher for $7.2 billion. Patheon also had facilities in Durham and High Point that became part of the Thermo Fisher purchase.
Thermo Fisher also has just over 700 employees at two operations in the Asheville area -- a manufacturing site for cold-storage laboratory products and a contact center in Asheville and a warehousing facility about 10 miles north in Weaverville.
Construction at the Greenville facility and at factories in Monza and Ferentino, Italy, is expected to be completed within the next 24 months. The Greenville site will get new vial filling and automated inspection lines, along with a formulation and process development laboratory – including two lab-scale lyophilizers with smart software.
The company said the project won't add any building footprint or employment. The company reported 1,876 employees statewide, including 131 at the Durham office complex.
"These investments will help expand our global sterile manufacturing network and meet the increasing demand from customers that rely on our biologics development and manufacturing expertise," said Michel Lagarde, president of pharma services for Thermo Fisher Scientific. "We continue to invest to expand our capabilities and help our customers deliver the highest quality medicines to the patients who need them."
Patheon first located in North Carolina in 2008. The contract manufacturer bought Banner Pharmacaps in High Point in 2012, then announced a $2.6 billion merger with DSM in Greenville a year later. Now, as part of the global Thermo Fisher empire, the company remains one of the state’s leading employers. The 1.5-million-square-foot Greenville complex alone is spread across 29 buildings on 640 acres.
“This continued investment in North Carolina facilities and people is a testament to the value companies such as Thermo Fisher see in our trained workforce and in our global life science leadership,” said Mark Phillips, vice president for statewide operations and executive director for the Eastern Office of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. Phillips has worked closely with state, local and company leaders through the transformation of the region into a major pharmaceutical manufacturing hub.
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., headquartered in Waltham, Mass., reports annual revenues of more than $24 billion and 70,000 employees globally.