New life sciences capital-construction projects totaled $15 billion in 2015

Pharmaceutical CommercePharmaceutical Commerce - January/February 2016

Construction index shows a steady level of North American activity

Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, TX), a data services company that monitors industrial contruction activity, reports that in 2015, $15 billion worth of new projects were started. That’s on par with what was reported 12 months ago for 2014. This year, big-ticket project starts include a federally funded, $1.25-billion National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, which will incorporate biosafety level (BSL) 1-4 laboratories. Among biopharma companies, major investments were started by AstraZeneca’s MedImmune divison, with a $250-million expansion of its Frederick, MD facility; and an equally costly biologics manufacturing facility by Gilead Sciences in La Verne, CA.

IIR tracks new construction starts among pharma, biotech, medical device and diagnostics businesses throughout North America. According to the company, there are 1,300 active projects in this sector throughout the continent, totaling $66 billion in investment. For 2015, on a regional basis, the most valuable region was the Great Lakes, with $2. 5 billion in new construction starts, but the Southeast had the largest number of starts, with 115, totaling $1.3 billion.

Meanwhile, two major biologics projects outside North America were publicized late last year. At the Incheon Free Economic Zone, Samsung BioLogics held a groundbreaking ceremony for its third contract biologics facility at the South Korean location; it will have a capacity of 180,000 liters. Construction completion is slated for 2017, with operations beginning in late 2018. Its predecessor (second) plant is expected to begin commercial operations this year. Samsung BioLogics has a goal of being the world’s largest contract manufacturer of biologics, and will have, it says, a capacity of 360,000 liters when the new plant comes onstream. The No. 1 contract producer, according to analyst surveys, is Boehringer Ingelheim, which also announced a new facility, costing some $460 million, to be constructed in Vienna. That plant will come onstream in 2021.

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