State supports expansion plans for increased production
State supports expansion plans for increased production of Bielefeld's PlasmidFactory GmbH & Co. KG
The biotechnological company from East Westphalia moves into focus by expanding its capacity to take part in vaccine production.
PlasmidFactory GmbH & Co. KG (Bielefeld), based in Bielefeld since 2000, has been working closely with world-leading mRNA manufacturers for many years and produces plasmid DNA as an essential starting material for their vaccine production, which has proven to be extremely effective in the corresponding (pre-)clinical studies.
Accepting the invitation, Minister Prof. Pinkwart from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MWIDE) will be getting to know the company on January 22 – unfortunately only virtually due to the coronavirus – and take a virtual tour of the production and see the expansion areas that will be used for new production capacities for the manufacture of plasmid DNA, as a key substrate for the production of mRNA vaccines - e.g. Covid19 vaccines.
Since the onset of the Covid19 pandemic, PlasmidFactory has postponed numerous regular DNA production projects planned for 2020 to immediately help meet the enormous demand for DNA of this quality level.
New capacity through expansion
PlasmidFactory is therefore now planning to establish a production facility, in an exceptionally short time, which is capable of producing the enormous quantities of plasmid DNA that are currently urgently needed to support the pharmaceutical manufacture of the Covid19 vaccine and to enable an expansion of the customers' manufacturing capacities.
The prospective funding from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia will help make these enormous efforts and expenses here in the region of East-Westphalia-Lippe possible in such a short time.
From the company's standpoint, there is no alternative to the strategy, which has come to be known as the mRNA vaccine, for the protection against not only the CoV-2 virus but also against other pandemics caused by viral pathogens that may be expected in the future, when taking into account expected patient safety. Particular attention is also being paid here to the speed of development, since the mRNA vaccine is based on DNA that could be produced very quickly in the past, but not on the scale now required, whilst adhering to the high quality standards.
Specifically, a modular facility for plasmid DNA production is to be built on the site next to PlasmidFactory. Within a few months, this facility is to be equipped as a high-performance facility for DNA production, so that the - constantly increasing - demand for starting substrate for vaccine production can be met in Bielefeld from the summer onwards.
Due to the modular construction, pre-built room parts can be combined to construct a production unit in a short amount of time, in which the production process with fermentation, extraction and purification of the plasmid DNA including media preparation and storage capacity can take place.
Worldwide long-term demand
Since 2000, PlasmidFactory has specialized in producing DNA in extremely high purity for research in the field of gene therapy and genetic vaccines and works both scientifically and as a worldwide supplier for universities, biotechnological and pharmaceutical companies. All manufacturing as well as research and development are pooled at the Bielefeld location. There is a very close cooperation with Bielefeld University, which ensures the availability of highly-motivated, young employees and integration into current research topics and technologies.
Due to the extremely challenging availability of auxiliary and starting materials worldwide and especially the key substance DNA for pharmaceutical production of the vaccine, there is an exceptional and very long-lasting need, which could be covered within North Rhine-Westphalia (as well as Germany and the European Community) and could provide an independent supply of the currently most important raw material for mRNA production or ensure its availability.