On a clear dark night, a container ship arrives into Shanghai’s Yangshan deep water port. It unloads its precious cargo: modules for the world’s largest single-use plant for making biologics – medicines made from biological cultures.
Biologics, also called biopharmaceuticals, are protein-based medicines that are increasingly used to treat many different diseases such as cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and blood disorders. The way biologics are manufactured has recently seen a revolution, setting off a rapid expansion of this new branch of pharmaceuticals that now represents the fastest growing class of drugs.
Benefitting from the close proximity of the Yangtze River to Wuhan’s Biolake Science Park, transport of the sixty-two German-made building modules was fast work for the fleet of river barges carrying them upstream from Shanghai.
Watching the modules arrive at JHL Biotech’s site in Wuhan with great anticipation was GE’s project leader Thys Smit. During the module construction phase, Smit was on the ground in China overseeing preparations for their arrival.
Smit commented, “Achieving structural completion in such a short timeframe means that we can now focus on testing and adding more infrastructure, like power and site utilities, etc.”
“We are avidly anticipating the arrival and installation of the FlexFactory hardware which is the last key step before the KUBio facility validation and the start of production of biopharmaceuticals locally,” he added.
Planning ahead is a critical element of JHL’s innovative approach to bringing affordable bio-therapeutics and generic medicines to the area. The site has been designed with the future in mind – by anticipating the burgeoning local demand for these life-saving next-generation biopharmaceutical factories, JHL is ahead of the game.
On-the-ground preparations at Biolake, which was created by the government to attract biotech to the region, includes space for offices, supporting functions such as a quality-assurance facility, and the addition of a local Fill-and-Finish facility. All necessary elements for the in-situ production of ready-to-use doses of these important drugs.
In fact, the site has a main service spine – the key artery of the facility – that can support today’s KUBio and there is even an option to plug in a second KUBio, should it ever be required to meet potential increase in demand in the near future.
Racho Jordanov, JHL Biotech’s CEO, said, “Industry-wide, there is a clear focus on cost of goods and how this directly impacts final pricing.”
Fresh from the BioSimilars Forum in the UK, he added, “By designing the facility with the ability to support multiple KUBios, we are ideally positioned to aggressively address this issue – whilst still maintaining the speed to market and necessary quality for meeting US and EU regulations.”