Amgen chooses Rhode Island for its new next generation biomanufacturing plant
Biotechnology company Amgen has announced its plans to develop a new, next generation biomanufacturing plant at its campus in West Greenwich, Rhode Island. It will the first of its kind in the US and utilise next-generation biomanufacturing capabilities and manufacture products for the US and global markets.
Since 2004, the company Foundation has also committed over $4.8mn to support science education and community programs in Rhode Island.
The plant will incorporate multiple innovative technologies into a single facility, and will be built in half the construction time, with approximately one half of the operating cost of a traditional plant.
Next-generation biomanufacturing plants require a smaller manufacturing footprint and offer greater environmental benefits, including reduced consumption of water and energy and lower levels of carbon emissions.
The new plant will also utilise “disposable plastic containers, instead of the steel vats of a traditional plant, to grow cells, eliminating the need for complicated piping and wiring, making it easier to change product lines,” Reuters has reported.
"Amgen has three decades of experience in biologics manufacturing, and we are proud of our track record of providing a reliable supply of high-quality medicines for patients around the world," explained Esteban Santos, Executive Vice President of Operations at Amgen.
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"We are pleased to build the first commercial scale, next-generation biomanufacturing plant in the US, leveraging Amgen's capabilities and incorporating the latest technologies."
Upon completion, the new biomanufacturing plant will create approximately 150 additional highly-skilled manufacturing positions and approximately 200 construction and validation jobs.
"I am thrilled that Amgen is planning to expand and bring new, highly skilled jobs to Rhode Island and further enhance the State's life sciences community and manufacturing expertise," said Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo. "We welcome Amgen's future health care advancements for patients around the world that will come from this new biomanufacturing plant."
Amgen opened its first next-generation biomanufacturing plant in Singapore in 2014. Within the plant, the equipment is portable, smaller and disposable, which provides greater flexibility and speed when manufacturing different medicines simultaneously.
This process eliminates costly and complex retrofitting inherent in standard facilities which allows Amgen to respond to changing demands with increased agility, ultimately impacting the speed at which a medicine is available for patients.
Amgen has invested more than $1.5bn in its Rhode Island site, adding more than 500,000 square feet of manufacturing, utility, administrative and laboratory space to the campus. There are also 625 full-time staff members employed at the campus.
Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.