Fujifilm Diosynth Begins Building $2 Billion Cell Culture Facility in NC

Fujifilm_VCG/VCG via Getty Images

VCG/VCG via Getty Images

FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), broke ground on the largest cell culture CDMO facility in North America. The company is investing $2 billion into the large-scale cell culture expansion project in Holly Springs, North Carolina.

The facility will have eight 20,000L bioreactors with the potential to add another 24 20,000L bioreactors. It will also be able to handle commercial-scale, automated fill-finish and assembly, packaging and labelling.

“Today’s groundbreaking of the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies facility is proof that North Carolina has a world class workforce and talent pipeline,” said Governor Roy Cooper at the groundbreaking ceremony. “We’re the right choice for them and I welcome them to our state.”

The project will be one of the largest construction projects in North Carolina, with about 2 million square feet of space. It is expected to bring in 725 new jobs in Wake County over the next five years. State and local governments offered more than $100 million in incentives to get the company to pick that location.

One of the other attractions was Fujifilm’s network of partners at the universities and local school systems.

In an interview with The Herald Sun, Fujifilm Diosynth’s Chief Executive Officer Martin Meeson said, “You’ve got the universities. You’ve got a community college network. And one of the big commitments that the state and the region and those institutions are giving us is they’re going to keep bringing those candidates through.”

This is something North Carolina State University Chancellor Randy Woodson, who was at the groundbreaking ceremony, agrees with. He noted that talent was one of the things every company asks about. “They want to make sure they can attract and retain a high-quality workforce. And so we have a responsibility there.”

Woodson added, “We’re going to have to get back to the business of growing our enrollment in some of these high demand areas. We’ve been working with the legislature on a plan to grow our computer science, biotechnology, genetic engineering, biopharmaceutical degree programs that feed into these growing industries.”

Fujifilm Diosynth had already partnered with NC State’s Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC), which has trained more than 200 people in the company’s existing workforce. Fujifilm Diosynth has approximately 600 staffers at facilities in Research Triangle Park.

Meeson notes that the company wants to hire people with a wide variety of backgrounds, not just people with biotechnology experience. Fujifilm has a strong training program and says it has filled many jobs with people switching careers during the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been many positions in logistics, supply chain, facilities management and computer programming.

“Don’t think your skill set might have narrowed you out of where we actually operate,” Meeson said. “We have an extremely broad pool of candidates coming out of other industries and the university system.”

Also at the groundbreaking event were North Carolina State Senator Sydney Batch, North Carolina State Representative Erin Paré, Wake County Commissioner Chair Matt Calabria, Town of Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears, Economic Development & Statewide Operations for North Carolina Biotechnology Center Senior Vice President Bill Bullock.

“Today, we celebrated a significant milestone of bringing this new site closer to reality, thanks to the hard work and dedication of our partners, and our current employees,” said Meeson. “We are now looking into the future as we build a facility that will further allow us to fulfill Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’ core purpose to produce life-impacting medicines in partnership with our customers."

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