A new high-tech facility for manufacturing of biological medicines is to be built in Södertälje, Sweden, by Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca.
The company said on Monday that it plans to invest approximately $285 million in the plant, which will be used for filling and packaging of protein therapeutics.
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said that this was a strategically important investment to support the accelerating development of biotech medicines, which now account for around half of the company's new drug pipeline.
"We expect to bring a significantly increased number of new specialty care medicines to patients in the coming years, driven in large part by biologics. This new plant will give us greater capacity and flexibility to handle clinical trials, and will also play an important role in our future commercial production," Soriot added.
AstraZeneca already has a well established presence in Södertälje, where the company has one of the largest tablets and capsules manufacturing sites in the world.
The new production facility is expected to supply medicines for clinical trial programs of AstraZeneca and its biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, from the end of 2018. It will start delivering finished products for commercial use once fully operational by 2019.
According to AstraZeneca the new plant will support the progression of drug candidates across the main therapy areas and will be aligned with investments the company is making in its existing biologics manufacturing centers, such as the expansion in Frederick, Maryland, announced in November 2014.