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Company celebrates cell therapy manufacturing facility progress in U.S. and Europe

A project in Massachusetts opens while one in the Netherlands begins

November 09, 2021     

One project opens its doors, and another begins as Bristol Myers Squibb continues to expand its cell therapy manufacturing footprint and capabilities in the U.S. and Europe.

The company held a groundbreaking event at the Leiden, Netherlands, Bio Science Park on Oct. 28 to celebrate the start of construction of its first cell therapy facility in Europe. A week later on Nov. 3, a ribbon cutting ceremony marked the opening of a new cell therapy facility at the company’s Devens, MA, campus for its employees. 

“As our cell therapy franchise continues to grow, we are making continued investments to expand global manufacturing capacity to support the promise of cell therapy and bring treatments to patients faster,” said Lou Schmukler, president, Global Product Development & Supply, Bristol Myers Squibb. “It’s tremendously exciting to see these plans come to life as we celebrate significant back-to-back milestones.”

Manufacturing cell therapies is both operationally and technically complex because they are manufactured uniquely for each individual patient, using a patient’s own T cells as the starting material. Each batch of engineered T cells is developed and infused back to the original cancer patient, and it is critical for companies to develop reliable quality supply and rapid turnaround time. That makes the expansion of the company’s global manufacturing footprint critical to supplying these products to patients around the world. The sites at Devens and Leiden will join the company’s existing cell therapy manufacturing network of Bothell, WA, and Summit and Warren, NJ, in addition to major contract manufacturing partnerships globally.

Devens, Massachusetts

The 244,000 square-foot Devens facility integrates the latest cell therapy manufacturing equipment and most recent and impactful digital technology, including Automated Media Production, which reduces the time to prepare complex media formulations.

The facility will add an additional several hundred jobs to the Devens campus, with nearly 150 new employees already on board at the facility. This latest milestone opens the doors to local employees as they prepare the facility to begin manufacturing next year.

The cell therapy manufacturing facility represents the second significant expansion of the 89-acre Devens site. The site began operations in 2009 and focused on large-scale, bulk biologics manufacturing in its early years. A 200,000 square-foot expansion completed in 2016 added biologics process development and clinical manufacturing capabilities.

“The new facility at the existing Devens site is a critical component of expanding our cell therapy manufacturing footprint and capabilities,” said senior director and Devens Cell Therapy Facility Program Lead Mike Hausladen. “This will allow us to prepare for the approval and launch of new cell therapies to help more patients across the globe.”  

The Devens site is part of Bristol Myers Squibb’s growing presence in Massachusetts, which is home to a robust life sciences ecosystem. The company also operates two R&D facilities in Cambridge, MA, and will be bringing those two sites together into a new building at Cambridge Crossing in 2023.

Leiden, Netherlands

Europe Cell Therapy Facility

The 200,000 square-foot facility in Leiden will have the latest technology and production equipment, with capabilities for multi-product cell therapy manufacturing. Located in Leiden Bio Science Park, it will also leverage a growing life sciences region and is accessible to major transportation nodes. The location is conveniently located near Schiphol airport and to the cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam.  

Bristol Myers Squibb expects the facility at Leiden to be completed and operational at the end of 2024 and to attract talent from across Europe to fill several hundred new positions. 

“The new production center is our first in Europe, which will enable us to bring the manufacturing of this innovative cell therapy closer to European patients,” said Senior Director and Program Head at BMS Leiden Arjen Schippers. “This may help to reduce the turnaround time, saving valuable time for patients in Europe with certain aggressive blood cancers.”

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About Bristol Myers Squibb

Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. As global citizens, we work sustainably and responsibly to create a positive impact in the communities where we live and work.