The plant at the Zhang Jiang Hi-tech Park in Pudong will make “therapeutic proteins from mammalian cell culture” according to spokesman Ralph Warsinsky, who added “it has already been operational for the production of clinical trial supplies on a smaller scale.”
The site was built in collaboration with Zhangjiang Biotech & Pharmaceutical Base Development Company Warsinsky said, adding that: “As part of this joint venture, our local partner is for example providing the property at which the facility is built.”
According to a presentation Boehringer Ingelheim gave at BPI Europe in Amsterdam, The Netherlands in April the Pudong site houses 2,000L of disposable bioreactors capacity. The firm also revealed it plans to make a isolator liquid filling line operational at the site in 2018.
Contracting and beyond
When Boehringer announced its plant to build the plant in 2013, it said the aim was to encourage international drug companies that would otherwise be put off by the complexities of supplying the Chinese market.
The plan is working so far according to Warsinsky, who said: “We have so far seen a great interest from customers, including local Chinese drug companies as well as multinational drug companies. We do already have existing contracts with both local Chinese as well as multinational companies.”
However, while the focus will be contract manufacturing, the site may also produce Boehringer Ingelheim’s own products for markets in Asia.
“The plant will at the start be operating for industrial customers. As the plant is designed to accommodate additional capacities based upon market demands, we will have the potential to in the future also produce products marketed Boehringer Ingelheim” Warsinsky said.
The Pudong plant will also make biologics for other markets, including the US, according to Warsinsky who said: “Before the start of commercial operation today, we have already been producing clinical trial supplies for international markets, including the US.”