Chinese company to build $60M biomanufacturing facility in Worcester

BY Zachary Comeau

The now closed Worcester State Hospital is set to become a biomanufacturing campus.

A Chinese biotech company will build a $60-million facility at the Worcester Biomanufacturing Park, becoming the first tenant at the site of the former Worcester State Hospital, which the Worcester Business Development Corp. is attempting to turn into a major biotechnology hub.
WuXi Biologics announced the new drug-making facility Sunday, which brings with it approximately 150 new jobs.
The facility is the company’s 11th drug manufacturing plant and the first in the United States, which comes in the midst of a brewing trade war between the two countries.
The plant, dubbed the “Facility of the Future,” will be built using the company’s single-use bioreactors and will be designed to run continuous bioprocessing -- technology to be used in America for the first time, WuXi said in its press release.
WuXi received an undisclosed amount of support for the facility from the state, WBDC, and Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.
LakePharma, a California biologics company with a presence in Worcester, was once thought to be the anchor tenant in the Biomanufacturing Park but instead purchased a 69,000-square-foot Hopkinton facility last December. 
The WuXi announcement comes on the heels of the 2018 BIO International Convention, a global conference of biotech and pharma leaders, which was held in Boston last week. 
WuXi brings a global biomanufacturing expertise to help enhance the state’s biopharma companies develop therapies more efficiently, said Travis McCready, president and CEO of Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.
The company, which toured Worcester before committing to the site, looks to move quickly to join the state’s growing biopharmaceutical industry. The site is expected to play a key role in the company’s global network, Chairman Ge Li said. 
"Metropolitan Boston is acknowledged as a leader in the biopharmaceutical industry,” Li said. “The new site plays a key role in WuXi Biologics' global bio-manufacturing network to ensure that biologics are manufactured at the highest quality and within a robust supply chain to benefit patients worldwide. “
Many of the company’s partners are located within two hours of the new site, according to CEO Chris Chen.
“We are all very excited to initiate our first U.S. site to enable local companies and expedite biologics development in the United States,” Chen said.” We are committed to becoming the most comprehensive capability and technology platform in the global biologics industry to enable both local and global partners."