Thermo Fisher Scientific, a global life science services company with major operations in North Carolina, will add 500 new jobs in Greenville over the next two years as it expands its sterile drug product development and commercial manufacturing of critical medicines, therapies and vaccines.
The investment, approximately $500 million, will include a new, stand-alone, 130,000-square-foot facility with two live- virus filling lines that will be operational in 2022. The site will also add six new lines in 2021 and 2022, including commercial-scale liquid filling lines and a development line for liquid and lyophilized (freeze-dried) drug products.
Thermo Fisher already employs about 1,500 people at the Greenville campus, a 1.5-million-square-foot complex encompassing 29 buildings on 640 acres. The contract-manufacturing site, under the direct leadership of Vice President and General Manager Michelle Logan, makes and packages medicines for a range of diseases including cancer, heart disease and blood clots.
In addition to the Greenville expansion, Thermo Fisher will expand operations in Swindon, England, and Ferentino and Monza, Italy.
Collectively these investments will create about 1,000 jobs over the next two years. They will add 15 development and current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) commercial production lines supporting a range of capabilities including live virus, aseptic liquid and lyophilized vial filling.
“We have continued to invest strategically in capacity, technology and expertise across our global network so we can accelerate innovation and enhance productivity for our customers,” said Mike Shafer, the company’s senior vice president and president of pharma services. “This has enabled us to respond quickly and support our customers with unprecedented scale and depth of capabilities to meet high demand for new therapies and vaccines. By simplifying the supply chain and solving complex manufacturing challenges, we shorten development timelines in order to get high-quality medicines to patients, faster.”
In addition to expansions in North America and Europe, the company recently announced significant projects in Asia-Pacific, including a new sterile manufacturing facility in Singapore and a new integrated biologics and sterile drug development and manufacturing site in Hangzhou, China.
“With these investments, we’ve nearly doubled our global footprint for drug development and commercial manufacturing, which allows us to support our customers with unmatched flexibility, expertise and scale at a time of unprecedented demand,” Shafer said.
The activities underscore the rapidly growing global demand for injectable sterile drugs, which comprise 46 percent of the total dosage forms securing U.S. FDA approval in 2019 (versus 25 percent a decade ago), according to PharmaSource, a healthcare marketing company, and the FDA.
Thermo Fisher, headquartered in Waltham, Mass., established its presence in Greenville in 2017 when it purchased Patheon, a contract development and manufacturing organization, 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 western North Carolina — a contact center and manufacturing site for cold-storage laboratory products in Asheville and a warehousing facility about 10 miles north in Weaverville.
The company has over 75,000 employees worldwide and annual revenue of more than $25 billion. Its pharmaceutical services brands include Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific, Unity Lab Services and Patheon.
This article, written by Barry Teater, originally appeared on the website of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, a private, non-profit corporation supported by the North Carolina General Assembly. The center’s loans, grants, programs and activities develop strengths that yield transformational partnerships and life science jobs statewide.