Catalent has spent several years—and hundreds of millions of dollars—setting up a cell therapy production campus in Belgium. Today, the company is cutting the ribbon at its newest manufacturing facility there.
After picking up Belgian CDMO MaSTherCell Global for $315 million back in early 2020—and an adjacent site later that year—to establish a European “center of excellence for cell therapies” in Gosselies, Belgium, Catalent is opening a new plant there.
The facility boasts 60,000 square feet of cell therapy production space and can produce autologous or allogenic treatments at clinical or commercial scales, Catalent says. Autologous cell therapies are made by re-engineering a patient’s own cells, while allogenic treatments are often called “off-the-shelf” treatments and are premanufactured from unrelated donor cells.
The new plant is part of Catalent’s Gosselies campus, which already features a 67,000-square-foot site for clinical cell therapy production and two facilities for plasmid DNA development and manufacturing. The plasmid DNA sites occupy 17,000 square feet and 32,400 square feet for R&D and large-scale manufacturing, respectively.
In all, Catalent offers “end-to-end services for development, scale up, and commercial launch of advanced therapies,” the company’s president of BioModalities, Manja Boerman, said in a statement.
The Belgian expansion comes amid a boom in cell and gene therapies industrywide. Catalent has been busy expanding in the field, in part by striking its MaSTherCell buyout in early 2020 to get its hands on a contract producer with cell and gene therapy expertise.
With the MaSTherCell deal, Catalent picked up three sites in Europe and the United States and 240 employees. Later in 2020, Catalent purchased a 31,000-square-foot cell and gene therapy facility in Gosselies, Belgium, from Bone Therapeutics’ Skeletal Cell Therapy Support SA subsidiary.
But it’s not been all good news at Catalent lately. The company is in the process of laying off hundreds of U.S. staffers at multiple sites as its revenues from COVID-19 vaccine contract manufacturing dry up.
By Eric Sagonowsky
As inflation, high interest rates and a tight investment environment continue to create headaches, 72% of CFOs said economic volatility poses the same or greater risk to their business this year compared to 2023 in a recent survey from BDO — and there are more changes afoot.
McMullen, who’s also currently president of Agilent, is set to abdicate both roles on May 1, according to an announcement the company put out Wednesday afternoon. From there, McMullen will spend a few months serving as an advisor to Agilent and to his successor until his retirement becomes final on Oct. 31.
AstraZeneca has concluded its acquisition of China-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Gracell Biotechnologies for $1.2bn. The acquisition, initially agreed in December 2023, positions Gracell as a wholly owned AstraZeneca subsidiary with operations continuing in the US and China.