US-based Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) is building a new cell therapy manufacturing facility in Devens, Massachusetts, US. Credit: Bristol-Myers Squibb.
BMS invested around $4.5bn in the research and development (R&D) of new medicines in 2014. Credit: Bristol-Myers Squibb.
BMS completed the expansion of its biologics manufacturing facility at the Devens site in May 2016. Credit: Business Wire.

US-based global pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) is building a new cell therapy manufacturing facility in Devens, Massachusetts, US.

The state-of-the-art facility will allow BMS to expand its global portfolio of complex biologic drugs, and is part of BMS’s investment in the clinical and commercial manufacturing of cell therapies for patients with aggressive haematological cancers.

The plant will produce Breyanzi, a cell-based gene therapy for certain types of large B-cell lymphoma, as well as other clinical and commercial cell therapy products.

The facility is expected to come online in 2023.

Location of the BMS facility

The cell therapy manufacturing facility is being built at BMS’s existing Devens campus. Located 72km north-west of Boston, the 89-acre campus facilitates process development, clinical manufacturing and commercial manufacturing for biologics medicines, including an immuno-oncology medicine.

Details about the BMS facility

The plant will occupy a 244,000ft2 area within the Devens campus. It will be equipped with several next-generation technologies and the latest integrated digital systems to enable a rapid increase in capacity for clinical and commercial cell therapy products.

The facility will employ highly trained manufacturing teams for producing cell therapies. These will involve both operational and technical complexity, as they are customised for each individual from their apheresis collection.

The plant will help develop a reliable quality supply of cell therapies that will be manufactured using a patient’s own T cells as the starting material. Each batch of engineered T cells will be reinfused back to the original cancer patient.

The plant will strengthen the company’s established state-of-the-art cell therapy manufacturing network with highly trained manufacturing teams. It is expected to create hundreds of jobs to support new operations and offer career development for employees across the fields of biologics and cell therapies within a single campus.

Background and development

BMS’ existing operations in Devens support the production of ORENCIA® (abatacept), the company’s biologic therapy for rheumatoid arthritis, and the immuno-oncology medicine EMPLICITI (elotuzumab), as well as other biologic compounds.

In June 2006, BMS announced that a state-of-the-art bulk biologics manufacturing facility would be built at the Devens site. This was to be the company’s first major facility in Massachusetts.

Construction of the facility was completed in 2009. In April 2010, the facility received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. LEED Gold certification had been granted to the facility’s laboratory and office buildings in December 2009.

In May 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the facility to produce ORENCIA® (abatacept). In April 2013, BMS announced it would add a biologics development building and a clinical manufacturing building to the facility in order to enhance the company’s presence in biologics medicines. This expansion was completed in May 2016.

Marketing commentary on BMS

BMS is a biopharmaceutical company involved in the discovery and development of innovative medicines for disorders such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, hepatitis B and C, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis and psychiatric disorders. In 2014, the company invested around $4.5bn in the research and development (R&D) of new medicines.

In 2015, BMS was ranked fourth on Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies in the pharmaceutical industry, and featured among the top three pharmaceutical companies for innovation and social responsibility. Forbes Magazine previously ranked BMS as the best drug company of 2013.

The company’s new cell therapy manufacturing facility in Devens is its latest investment to expand its global manufacturing network. BMS also holds state-of-the-art cell therapy manufacturing facilities in Bothell, Washington, and Warren and Summit, New Jersey.

BMS also plans to consolidate two of its R&D facilities in Cambridge, Massachusetts, into a new building at Cambridge Crossing in 2023.