Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca is developing a state-of-the-art facility for manufacturing biological medicines in Södertälje, Sweden.
The biologics manufacturing facility will be used for filling and packaging protein therapeutics.
AstraZeneca is investing more than Skr2.5bn (around $300m) in the state-of-the-art facility. This investment is the first phase of a potential three-part programme by the company, designed to expand biologics manufacturing capabilities.
AstraZeneca began plans to invest in the facility in May 2015 and began construction in August 2015. The plant will supply medicines for clinical trials from the end of 2018, with drugs for commercial use planned to be delivered from 2019.
The factory is expected to create more than 150 jobs in Södertälje by 2019.
Location of the AstraZeneca plant in Södertälje
The biologics manufacturing plant is being built at the Gärtuna plant in Södertälje. The city was chosen as the location for biologics manufacturing due to the availability of a skilled workforce.
By establishing the facility, AstraZeneca aims to combine its expertise in biologics with the operational excellence of its domestic operations unit.
Details of the biologics manufacturing facility
The plant will enable AstraZeneca to increase its capacity and flexibility to handle clinical trials and support the further commercial production of biologics.
It will supply medicines for clinical trial programmes run by AstraZeneca and MedImmune, the company’s global biologics research and development arm.
The plant will support the development of drug candidates across all main therapy areas and will be aligned with investments in existing biologics manufacturing centres.
The factory will be equipped with advanced technologies that AstraZeneca has not previously used. Machinery for filling, formulation, sewing and packaging will form a major part of the equipment in the factory.
Construction of the AstraZeneca facility in Södertälje
The facility recruited 80 people, most of whom have resided in barracks next to the factory, by the first half of 2017. A structured programme was created for preparing the manufacturing plant to start producing biologics.
The validation and testing of equipment at the site began in early 2018. The process operators are being simultaneously trained to handle the equipment before the start of operations.
The plant will start manufacturing drugs once it has achieved compliance with good manufacturing practice (GMP) standards.
Marketing commentary on AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a leading biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines. It is one of Sweden’s biggest manufacturing and export companies, with operations in Gothenburg and Södertälje.
The company’s domestic operations range from research and manufacturing to marketing. It currently employs more than 6,700 people in its domestic operations.
AstraZeneca produces 30 different medicines in Södertälje for around 100 markets worldwide. The company’s Nordic-Baltic marketing company is also based in Södertälje. With an extensive research and manufacturing presence in Sweden, AstraZeneca Södertälje produces more than ten billion tablets a year.
AstraZeneca exports medicines worth Skr40bn ($4.75bn) a year from Sweden, accounting for around 3.5% of Sweden’s total export of goods. The company invests more than Skr15bn ($1.78bn) a year in research and development for its domestic operations in Södertälje and Gothenburg.