Bayer chooses Fluor and GE Healthcare for new cell culture technology centre

Company will invest US$150 million in new California facility expected to be ready for clinical production in late 2021

Bayer research employee holds a flask that contains 1,5 litres of cell culture media. Photo credit: Bayer

Bayer has announced that the company will invest US$150 million in its Berkeley pharmaceutical development and manufacturing campus in California, US. The project will see the construction of a Cell Culture Technology Center that will be used to accelerate the development of biological therapies.

Once complete, the new facility will support Bayer's growing portfolio in biologics to serve multiple patient populations.

"This investment allows Bayer to expand our biologics development and launch capabilities, as we advance our R&D programmes internally and through strategic collaborations," said Wolfram Carius, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Head of Bayer Pharmaceuticals Product Supply.

Carius added: "We are especially proud to bring this investment to Berkeley, where Bayer has been for many years, and to the greater San Francisco Bay Area, the birthplace of biotechnology and a global epicentre of drug development innovation."

The new Cell Culture Technology Center will be built on Bayer's existing Berkeley campus, home to its recombinant Factor VIII manufacturing centre that produces haemophilia A treatments for patients in nearly 80 countries around the world.

The new 40,000 sqft facility, which is expected to be ready for clinical production in late 2021, will support the development of emerging therapies in Bayer's portfolio with an emphasis on oncology, cardiology and additional speciality care therapeutic areas.

Strategic partners

Bayer has selected Fluor for design and construction, and GE Healthcare for the integration of its FlexFactory technology platform into the centre.

"Bayer's Cell Center Technology Center will combine automation, digital capabilities and single-use bioprocessing technologies to streamline production to allow us to bring new medicines to patients faster," said Judy Chou, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Global Head of Bayer Biotech. "We've chosen to partner with Fluor and GE Healthcare on the Cell Culture Technology Center to leverage their expertise in designing flexible, scalable facilities for the future."

Two years ago, Bayer oriented its pharmaceutical strategy around key speciality care therapeutic areas and recently has increased its R&D focus on open innovation. The centre is being designed to support candidates in the drug pipeline, and enable the development of new assets resulting from a range of collaborations coming from Bayer's open innovation approach.

"Fighting cancer on all fronts requires fast and scalable innovation, as well as solutions based on digital insights," said Emmanuel Ligner, President and CEO of GE Healthcare Life Sciences.

Ligner added: We are delighted to work with Fluor to offer our FlexFactory platform to help Bayer quickly and easily establish development and production capacity in oncology and other therapeutics."

Bayer has established innovation hubs in scientific hotspots around the globe to advance its focus on excellence in research, development, and groundbreaking technologies.

One of the largest biotech employers in the Bay Area, Bayer's presence on the US West Coast includes a pharmaceutical development and manufacturing facility in Berkeley and the Innovation Center in San Francisco, home to the first CoLaborator, an incubator for life science startups.

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