When BD unveiled a four-year, $1.2 billion upgrade to its drug delivery device manufacturing last year, the company teased plans for a new factory in Europe—and now it’s showing its hand.
BD has designs on a €165 million ($200 million) “high-tech” manufacturing plant in Zaragoza, Spain, which it’s pegged to boost drug delivery device output in Europe and create up to 600 new jobs by 2030.
The facility, which will become BD’s fourth manufacturing plant in Spain, will focus mainly on production of prefilled syringes for the European market. The plant will also add capacity for the needles and syringes BD is cranking out for COVID-19 vaccines, the company said in a release. BD is already tackling a portion of that pandemic work from another plant in Spain.
BD recently surpassed 1.7 billion orders for COVID-19 injection devices globally through 2022, and it has delivered around 800 million devices to date, a company spokesperson said over email.
The new 86,000-square-foot Zaragoza plant will start with a workforce of 150 people. The company plans to grow its staff there to 600 and boost the facility’s footprint to 323,000 square feet by the end of the decade. For some perspective, the plant at its peak will be about as large as seven football fields. Construction is set to start later this year.
The factory will be “fully digital” and come equipped with intelligent and autonomous technologies, BD said. The company is keeping the specifics close to the vest for now, the spokesperson said.
The facility falls under BD’s four-year, $1.2 billion prefilled syringe and advanced drug delivery system upgrade it announced in December, which included plans for a new factory in a then-undecided European locale. With Zaragoza in its sights, the company now expects the first phase of the facility to come online in 2024, the spokesperson said.
The remaining $1 billion or so of BD’s investment will be split between six of the company’s existing sites in the U.S., Mexico, Japan, France, Hungary and the U.K., a company spokesperson told Fierce Pharma in December.
Aside from prefilled syringes, the investment will also fuel development of advanced drug delivery products like BD’s Libertas wearable injector.
Over the course of the pandemic, BD has cemented itself as a chief supplier of vaccine injector devices. The company in July partnered with the U.S.’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority on a $70 million project to boost syringe and needle manufacturing in Nebraska. At the same time, it agreed to provide an initial 50 million needles and syringes to the U.S. by the end of the year.
Later that same month, the U.S. locked up an order for another 140 million BD injection devices, while Canada nearly doubled its order from 38 million to 75 million. In December, BD revealed it had surpassed 1 billion pandemic injection device orders globally.