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  1. Project
6 May 2021

Abzena’s New GMP Manufacturing Facility, Sanford, NC

Global life sciences company Abzena is building a good manufacturing practice (GMP) manufacturing facility in Sanford, North Carolina.
Abzena's new GMP manufacturing site is being developed in Sanford, North Carolina, US. Credit: Abzena.
The new cGMP facility will be used to produce mammalian biologics. Credit: Abzena.
Abzena's new biopharmaceutical production plant in Sanford will create around 325 jobs. Credit: Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock.

Global life sciences company Abzena is building a good manufacturing practice (GMP) manufacturing facility in Sanford, North Carolina.

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The facility will be Abzena’s sixth location in its global network, through which the company aims to offer integrated solutions to customers. It will enhance the company’s current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) production capabilities for mammalian biologics.

Being developed with an investment of around $213m, Abzena’s new manufacturing site is expected to generate 325 local jobs. The facility is due to begin GMP manufacturing in mid-2022 and will expand the company’s manufacturing capacity to meet customer demand.

Abzena GMP manufacturing facility location details

The biopharmaceutical manufacturing site is located in the city of Sanford, Lee County, North Carolina. Abzena chose North Carolina because of its position as a biotechnology leader and an enabling business environment for developing and manufacturing new drugs as well as expanding its market.

The state also offers access to a skilled workforce and other resources, which the company intends to use to continue to serve its clients with a site equipped with cutting-edge technology.

Abzena GMP manufacturing facility details

Located in Central Carolina Enterprise Park’s 117,000ft² Shell Building 2, the Abzena facility will be mainly dedicated to producing mammalian biologics for clients. It is designed for phase three clinical trials and the commercial-scale production of biologics, allowing companies to manufacture a diverse range of products.

Four modular suites will be built in the initial construction phase, each with up to two 2,000l bioreactors. Two more 2,000l suites will be added in later stages.

The Sanford plant will allow Abzena to meet increasing client demand for commercial-scale 2,000l single-use bioreactors in multiple therapeutic areas.

The state-of-the-art manufacturing facility will be able to accommodate both existing and advanced manufacturing technologies, such as continuous manufacturing and perfusion.


North Carolina’s Economic Investment Committee approved $7.7m in Job Development Investment Grants (JDIG) for the new plant, subject to the fulfilment of certain investment and employment generation targets.

The company also secured $632,000 in community college workforce training funding and $11.5m from Lee County and Sanford.

The project is estimated to boost the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) by $1.6bn and generate $45.3m in net tax revenues until 2033.

Partnerships involved

Abzena received technical support from NCBiotech, a public-private partnership organisation based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, in choosing the location for the biologics production plant.

The company was also supported by the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the North Carolina Community College System, the North Carolina General Assembly, the Office of US Senator Thom Tillis, Duke Energy, Lee County, the City of Sanford and the Sanford Area Growth Alliance.

Marketing commentary on Abzena

Abzena is a privately owned multinational British contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) that produces cell-based biologics for academic research laboratories and pharmaceutical firms.

Based in Cambridge, UK, the company operates sites in San Diego and Bristol, US. It is experienced in synthetic organic chemistry, custom synthesis and bioconjugation.

Abzena was formed through the incorporation of PacificGMP, PolyTherics, Antitope, Warwick Effect Polymers and The Chemistry Research Solution (TCRS).

The company provides services focused on antibody discovery and immunology analysis, and products ranging from early discovery to mid-phase pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Abzena collaborates with global companies and academic institutions, including major biopharmaceutical brands, to develop and produce better therapies for patients.

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