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Pharma plant under construction in Devens is latest in a string of facilities to make biologic drugs

Pharma plant under construction in Devens is latest in a string of facilities to make biologic drugs
244,000-square-foot Bristol Myers Squibb operation will focus on cell therapy

February 23, 2021 : The Boston Globe, by Tim Logan

The drug giant Bristol Myers Squibb has started construction on a 244,000-square-foot cell therapy plant in Devens, as part of its broader campus there. The facility, where hundreds of people will work in cell therapy development and manufacturing, should be completed this year and operational by 2023.

It’s the latest in a string of drug-making plants in the works in the region as pharmaceutical companies aim to quickly produce complex biologic drugs relatively close to their research facilities in Cambridge and Boston. Nearby in Devens, the developer King Street Properties is launching a five-building campus on 45 acres. It would be the region’s first large biomanufacturing plant to begin construction “on spec,” or without tenants lined up. Most such plants are built by drug makers themselves, with a specific product in mind.

That’s the case for Bristol Myers Squibb, which earlier this month won approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a cell therapy treatment for lymphoma called Breyanzi. The new plant will produce that and other commercial and clinical treatments.

“Bristol Myers Squibb is at the forefront of manufacturing innovations, and we are proud that our new cell therapy facility in the Boston area will include many next-generation technologies and the latest integrated digital systems,” said Ann Lee, who heads cell therapy development and operations for the company.

The New York-based drug maker is also at work on a new office at Cambridge Crossing, just north of Kendall Square, that will house research and development functions currently split between two Kendall Square facilities. It’s on track to open in 2023.

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