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Biotechnology company Genzyme announced today it will further expand its high-tech cell culture production facility in Geel, Belgium, with an additional bioreactor of 4000 liter. The investment for this amounts to €46 million euro, and eighty extra jobs will be created at the Geel site.
“This expansion will substantially strengthen our global infrastructure and is fundamentally important to our future growth,” said Sandra Poole, Vice President and General Manager of the Geel biomanufacturing plant. “Our investment in the Belgian site is a reflection of our commitment to Europe and is enabling us to bring our innovative therapies to a growing number of patients around the world.”
Genzyme’s state-of-the-art biotechnology production facility for therapeutic proteins in Geel is among the largest biomanufacturing plants in Europe. The plant is designed as a multi-product facility for the production of recombinant therapeutic proteins by large scale mammalian cell cultures. At present, the facility contains two 10,000 liter bioreactors for the production of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, used for instance in cancer therapy. The additional bioreactor of 4000L, together with the two existing 4000L bioreactors, will be used for the production of therapeutic proteins to treat Lysosomal Storage Disorders, a group of very rare diseases each with a prevalence of 1 in 50 000 people. Completion of the installation of the new bioreactor is expected by mid-2011.
The extra bioreactor represents a further investment of €46 million bringing the overall investment of Genzyme in the Belgian production facility in Geel to above €350 million.
This expansion is part of a long-term strategy to allow Genzyme to provide a sustained supply to the growing demand for its therapeutic products throughout the world.
This new expansion will increase the workforce at the facility in Geel with 80 employees to more than 430. “The high skill level, flexibility and dedication of our the existing workforce, as well as the access to a highly educated local labour market has greatly enhanced our ability to implement our manufacturing plans at the site,” said Sandra Poole.