SAFC®, a member of the Sigma-Aldrich® Group, today announced a $6.25 million investment program to expand its Lenexa, KS, facility and create a global center of excellence for the seamless upstream and downstream production of dry powder media and reagents. The investment, part of SAFC’s worldwide facilities initiative, is designed to better serve the biopharmaceutical industry by creating centers of excellence for manufacturing and supply chain optimisation.
The project, supported by a $250,000 economic development grant from the Kansas Bioscience Authority, will include expanded pin milling and blending capabilities, enabling an increase of approximately 30% in batch production capacity. The expansion is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.
SAFC, the world’s largest supplier of dry powder media, previously performed milling operations at three sites using differing milling techniques. Through its center of excellence program, the company plans to consolidate all milling activity at Lenexa, KS, using proprietary pin milling technology. In comparison with other milling technology platforms, such as ball milling, pin milling allows greater process control, including temperature, feed rates and milling speed, to provide powder media with increased consistency and performance.
The expansion will feature completely separate areas for animal component free (ACF) and animal component containing (ACC) manufacture, both featuring pin milling technology. Upon completion, two dedicated manufacturing suites will have the capacity to produce seamless batches of ACF dry powder media in batch sizes ranging from 25kg to 4,000kg, with customised packaging available for all quantities. A separate dedicated manufacturing suite for ACC dry powder media products will also come on line as part of the expansion.
“This grant will see the Lenexa, KS, site become SAFC’s first global center of excellence for dry powder media manufacturing, and is a clear demonstration of our commitment to our biopharmaceutical partners, as we look to reduce their manufacturing costs by minimizing cell culture powder variability, while enhancing their supply chain integrity,” said Bruce Lehr, SAFC’s director of development. “We are extremely grateful to the Kansas Bioscience Authority for its generous grant, which demonstrates Kansas’ strong commitment to bioscience research, development and commercialisation.”
Kansas Bioscience Authority CEO Tom Thornton said, “Our investments are making Kansas a national leader in bioscience, and this is possible thanks to the innovation, success and growth of world-class companies such as SAFC. We congratulate SAFC on its compelling vision for this center of excellence.”