US-based life sciences and healthcare firm Thermo Fisher Scientific has unveiled its plans to construct a new commercial manufacturing site in Plainville, Massachusetts to expand its viral vector development and manufacturing capacity.

The $180m expansion project is expected to increase the company’s commercial viral vector capacity by more than double, and support the rising demand for development and manufacture of gene therapies and vaccines.

Thermo Fisher Scientific executive vice president Michel Lagarde said: “The Plainville expansion significantly enhances our ‘start here, stay here’ strategy, ensuring that customers have an uninterrupted pathway from development through commercialisation.

“Between Plainville and our other expanded sites in the US, we’re increasing viral vector production to accelerate cell and gene therapy innovation, giving hope to more patients everywhere.”

Thermo Fisher will build the facility in Plainville with digital connectivity and capabilities

Thermo Fisher said that its new expansion project includes the construction of a 290,000ft2 facility, which is expected to be completed in 2022.

In addition, the project will create more than 200 jobs and complement the company’s new or recently expanded capacity in Lexington and Cambridge in Massachusetts, and Alachua in Florida.

Thermo Fisher said that its advanced Plainville facility will feature digital connectivity and capabilities that enable operational efficiencies, high quality, data visibility and advanced operator training.

The site would provide a flexible and scalable configuration of laboratory and production suites co-located with adjacent warehousing and office space. The facility features an onsite engineering laboratory that supports the development of turnkey production platforms.

Similar to its other viral vector development and manufacturing sites, the Plainville site is also expected to attract a diverse workforce of scientists, quality control specialists and production teams, said the company.

Lagarde added: “The global race to develop new transformative medicines illustrates how important it is for our customers to have access to surge capacity as well as flexibility to adapt and change therapeutic platforms, whether they are developing a new viral vector for a novel therapy or the next life-saving cancer treatment.”