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Thermo Fisher to expand manufacturing capacity for dry powder media in New York

| By Mary Bailey

To meet increasing global demand for cell culture media used in the manufacturing of new vaccines and biologics, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (Waltham, Mass.) has expanded its dry-powder-media manufacturing facility in Grand Island, New York. With this expansion, the Grand Island site provides redundant capacity to support global supply of media and further extends the site’s capabilities to produce the high-quality technology and materials needed for the development and commercial manufacturing of vaccines and biologic therapies. The Grand Island expansion is part of Thermo Fisher’s $650 million multi-year investment, announced last year, to ensure flexible, scalable and reliable bioprocessing production capacity exists for these important medicines, including for COVID-19 vaccines.

The Grand Island expansion adds more than 45,000 square feet of Animal Origin Free (AOF) manufacturing space. This includes manufacturing of Thermo Fisher’s Advanced Granulation Technology (AGT) format and other AOF Dry Powder Media (DPM) products. This additional capacity and reliability will help accelerate the development and production of lifesaving and life-changing biotherapeutics and vaccines by biopharmaceutical manufacturers, biotechnology developers and contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) in the global production markets of innovative biologics, biosimilars, cell therapies and viral vectors. This strategic investment has duplicated the existing manufacturing facility, process capabilities and equipment to provide production redundancy and shorten product manufacturing lead times for customers.  

“Our expanded Grand Island site represents a significant milestone in our investment to double our total manufacturing capacity by the end of 2023,” said Kate Torchilin, Ph.D, president, biologicals and chemicals, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “With the harmonized capabilities of our global manufacturing sites that enable us to prove equivalency in manufacturing, we’re able to support current demand while priming for future growth and continuously enhancing our customer experience globally.”

For 60 years, Grand Island has been home to Gibco products, which are essential for reliable, high quality biomanufacturing worldwide. Thermo Fisher’s Gibco cell culture media and supplements are already used or have been used to develop and manufacture more than 250 commercial biologics, including cell and gene therapies, mAbs, and vaccines.

“The story of Thermo Fisher’s presence on Grand Island speaks to the longstanding positive reputation of the biomedical research community in Western New York,” said congressman Brian Higgins. “Gibco, originally founded by researchers at Roswell Park, continues to provide critical products to laboratories in our country and around the world, and the value of their work has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now employing over 1,600, I am proud to share in the celebration of Thermo Fisher’s continued investments and commitment to the community in Western New York.”

The expansion of the Grand Island site will add an estimated 100 team members across roles spanning R&D, operations, manufacturing, HR, engineering and maintenance. Thermo Fisher currently employs more than 1,600 people at the Grand Island site and over 3,000 people across New York.