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AstraZeneca lays out $360M for ‘next-gen’ manufacturing plant in Dublin

September 21, 2021 Eric Sagonowsky

As AstraZeneca works to incorporate Alexion following its major buyout, the company is already breaking out its checkbook to invest in next-gen manufacturing capacity.

On Tuesday, the U.K. drugmaker unveiled a $360 million investment at Alexion’s campus in Dublin, where it’ll construct an API facility for small molecules. The site will assist the company’s global manufacturing network in late-stage development and supply early commercial supplies for certain medicines.

The company expects to make a variety of drugs at the site, including new drugs such as antibody drug conjugates and oligonucleotides, AZ said.

In all, the new site will directly create about 100 jobs, including scientists and engineers, and other indirect jobs.  

“The future manufacturing of APIs for our medicines includes compounds with highly complex synthesis, requiring next generation technologies and capabilities that can respond quickly and nimbly to rapidly-changing clinical and commercial needs,” AZ’s executive vice president of global operations and IT, Pam Cheng, said in a statement. “This significant investment will ensure the AstraZeneca supply network is fit for the future.”

RELATED: AstraZeneca clears final antitrust hurdle as $39B Alexion buy wins U.K. nod

AstraZeneca believes the project will “significantly” reduce commercialization lead times and costs. In addition, the company aims to incorporate “sustainable” manufacturing practices to cut carbon emissions. 

The news comes just after AstraZeneca completed its $39 billion buyout of Alexion in July. In pursuing that deal late last year, AZ sought a leading rare disease player with marketed complement inhibitors Soliris and Ultomiris. 

RELATED: AstraZeneca’s Alexion buy takes first hit as Ultomiris fails in rare neurodegenerative disease

But since closing the buyout, the company has already hit an early setback as Ultomiris recently failed a trial in the rare neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Aside from rare diseases, AstraZeneca is eager to research how Alexion’s expertise in complement biology could help play a role in other more common diseases.

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