Bayer is ready to pour billions more into its pharma manufacturing operations, but with that, it will cut ties with several sites it already owns.
Bayer will invest more than $2.26 billion in its pharmaceutical manufacturing over the next three years, as it expands in both Europe and the US. Expansions in Bergkamen, Berlin, Leverkusen, Weimar and Wuppertal were already announced earlier in March in a German-only statement, stating that it will modernize facilities and work on “more intensive collaboration” with area universities and startups.
The company will transform its supply centers in Berlin, Leverkusen and Bergkamen into centers for excellence for parenterals, non-hormonal solids and contrast media and hormone products, respectively. A supply center in Wuppertal will be turned into a site for new production technologies. All these sites will see a combined investment of roughly $1.1 billion. Meanwhile, its Berkley, CA, site will see an expansion as well. It is already building a $200 million cell therapy site in Berkeley.
To do so, Bayer has divested a production site in Karachi, Pakistan, as a part of analysis of what manufacturing practices no longer align with long-term goals. Its site in São Paulo Cancioneiro, Brazil will be transferred to a new operator, and Bayer plans to do the same with parts of the Bergkamen, Wuppertal and Berlin sites.
Bayer has already put up 95 acres of its Creve Coeur, MO, campus up for sale, as it told the St. Louis Business Journal that it envisions a future with less physical office space. In 2020, WuXi STA prepared to take over Bayer facilities in Leverkusen and Wuppertal to start and finish the year.
“These investments into our supply network will support the success of our company’s pharmaceutical’s business long term,” said Holger Weintritt, head of pharmaceuticals product supply. “As an important element of our overall pharmaceutical business strategy we will focus our manufacturing activities on supporting future key areas of growth in which we aim to change the treatment paradigm for patients. All of our company’s new technology platforms and modalities will benefit from this investment.”
All this comes months after the announcement that the Big Pharma would drop $460 million into two manufacturing sites to expand its production capabilities for contraceptives to low- and middle-income countries. That deal featured Bayer expanding one site in Turku, Finland, and building another in Alajuela, Costa Rica, to produce hormonal implants and intrauterine systems. Bayer has a goal of providing 100 million girls and women with access to family planning by 2030. The new site in Costa Rica will start manufacturing by 2024, the company said, while the Finland location should be good to go by 2025.
Cell and gene therapy will be the focus for Bayer’s latest announcement. The billions will go toward technologies, automation, and digitalization to help upscale its manufacturing.