US-based biopharmaceutical company Baxalta, a spin-off of Baxter International, began building a biologics facility in Georgia, US, in August 2012.
The company chose a site for the proposed facility in the city of Covington, Newton County. It plans to invest more than $1bn in the facility between 2013 and 2017.
The facility will help Baxalta to meet the needs of patients worldwide who depend on the company’s plasma-based therapies.
The planned investment is expected to create around 1,500 full-time jobs in Georgia, as well as roughly 2,000 direct and indirect jobs. The plant started recruiting full-time staff in 2014 and is due to begin commercial production in 2018.
A biotech training centre in Stanton Springs operated by Georgia Quick Start, a customised workforce training programme, will provide technically trained personnel for Baxalta and other biopharmaceutical companies in the state.
Drugs produced at the Baxalta facility in Covington
The facility will focus on the manufacture of products related to immunoglobulin therapy and albumin, a protein commonly found in animal tissues and liquids.
Immunoglobulin therapy is offered to patients with immune deficiencies. Patients who require critical care or those facing trauma or burns are principally treated with albumin products. Albumin therapy helps to maintain fluid levels in critically ill patients.
Details of the Baxalta plasma-based treatment complex in Covington
The facility is located in Stanton Springs, a business park spread across four counties, namely Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton. Baxalta acquired 100 acres for the project in the business park.
The site is strategically located in the I-20 corridor, which provides quick access to road transport and is close to a number of plasma collection centres.
The plant will have facilities to support the development of plasma-based treatments such as plasma fractionation, purification and fill-finish operations for Baxalta’s biologic medications.
The fractionation facility will have annual capacities of up to three million litres. It will also feature a testing laboratory and separate buildings for warehousing, utilities and administration.
Baxalta started building the facility in August 2012.
Phased development of the Georgia-based facility
Baxter BioPharma Solutions is a contract manufacturer of pre-filled syringes, vials and cartridges for the packaging of vaccines and drugs.
Baxalta plans to develop the Covington site in a phased manner. The current development forms part of the project’s initial phase. The gross built-up area in the initial phase will cover one million square feet.
The later phases will expand the facility depending on the demand for its products. The facility will, therefore, be designed with flexibility to expand the infrastructure when global market needs require an expansion.
The construction of the Covington facility will also require the existing filling and finishing capacity at Baxalta’s manufacturing facility in Round Lake, Illinois, to be expanded.
The associated expansion is expected to create around 200 jobs and will add production capacity for the company’s plasma-based albumin treatment, Flexbumin, which is offered in a flexible container.
Baxalta’s licensed immunoglobulin treatments
The licensed immunoglobulin therapy currently marketed by Baxalta in the US and Canada is the Gammagard Liquid. This is used to treat patients with primary immunodeficiency and is marketed under the name Kiovig outside the US and Canada.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also approved Gammagard Liquid 10% for the treatment of multifocal motor neuropathy, making it the first immunoglobulin treatment to be approved for this indication. In addition, the company provides blood protein therapies for alpha-1 antitrypsin-deficient patients.
Marketing commentary on Baxalta
Based in Bannockburn, Illinois, Baxalta is a global biopharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures and markets transformative therapies in haematology, immunology and oncology.
The company has been a leading developer of innovative plasma-derived therapies. Its product portfolio includes therapies aimed at curing haemophilia, cancer, trauma and diseases related to kidneys and acute medical conditions.
Baxalta focuses on the unmet needs of patients who require these therapies for a long time.
Contractors involved in the project
US-based engineering and construction firm Fluor, along with construction company Turner Construction, was chosen to provide construction management services for the project.