Thermo Fisher Opens First Dry Powder Media Plant in Singapore

New DPM plant opens in Singapore

Growing demand amongst biomanufacturers has prompted Thermo Fisher to open the first dry powder media (DPM) production plant in Singapore.

DPM “is the nutritional and physiochemical foundation to most large-scale biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes,” said Brandon Pence of Thermo Fisher Scientific, whose new 30,800 sq ft site in Tuas, Singapore will begin production in September with ramp up through 2014.

Pence – who serves as global director of marketing for cell culture and bioprocessing – told Biopharma-Reporter.com that BCC Research (Global Markets for Media, Sera and Reagents in Biotechnology) estimates that the DPM market in Asia is growing at around 20% a year and will be worth $220m (€166m) by 2016.

“This reflects what we are seeing in the marketplace with our customers, and the opening of this facility is in direct response to their growing requirements,” he said.

Pence explained that while it is not the only option available to biomanufacturers - some buy ready made liquid media - DPM is popular because it can provide cost savings and makes raw material qualification processes more straightforward.

“A single manufacturing lot of DPM can provide more than 250,000 L of cell culture medium, whereas most liquid media manufacturing lot sizes are 10,000 L or less.”

Furthermore, he continued, a single DPM manufacturing lot can be tested and then used for numerous projects as the medium is hydrated in-house by the client and then sterile filtered into their bioreactors. Also as it is a powder it is easier to ship across multiple sites aiding firms’ global strategies.

Thermo Fisher will use the same manufacturing technologies and quality protocols at its GMP Singapore plant as in its DPM facility in Utah, US. “Through this rigorous harmonization process, we can guarantee not only product supply, but that we will consistently meeting our customers’ quality expectations globally,” said Pence.

Singapore

This latest facility will bolster Thermo Fisher’s presence in Singapore which, since 2001, has grown to six sites employing 300 people.

As a gateway to Asia, the DPM facility – the first in Singapore – “will provide critical redundant manufacturing of DPM to ensure an uninterrupted supply to [Thermo Fisher’s] biopharmaceutical customers,” throughout Asia and worldwide, according to Pence.

“Singapore is an attractive location for investment due to its established regulatory groups and world-class universities, IP protection, extensive infrastructure and highly educated and skilled workforce,” he said.  

“We are in good company in Singapore -- just down the street from our new DPM site are some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.”

Singapore has continued to attract biopharma firms in recent years, with Novartis investing $500m on a new cell culture based plant last November while other recent investments include Amgen’s $200m biomanufacturing facility announced earlier this year, and a $250m spend by Merck & Co. on manufacturing expansions.

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