Genentech has broken ground on a $280 million manufacturing plant on its Oceanside campus.
The project is part of $450 million of improvements the biotech titan is making in Oceanside.
“That includes major upgrades to our equipment and automation upgrades as well,” said Nazeli Dertsakian, vice president and general manager of Genentech.
With the addition of the new building, Genentech will have seven buildings totaling 575,000 square feet on its 60-acre Oceanside campus.
Dertsakian said that 150 new jobs will be added to the company’s Oceanside staff of 420 when the building opens in 2025.
“A combination of new hires in addition to our existing work force is what we will need to operate the facility,” Dertsakian said. “The opportunity here is to really leverage the entire campus, to leverage different skill sets.”
The new Oceanside manufacturing operation will mirror Genentech’s Clinical Supply Center in South San Francisco that opened in August 2022, enabling fast transfer of technology between the two sites.
“The technologies that we are implementing, the processing equipment are identical to South San Francisco,” Dertsakian said.
The new Oceanside operation will use digital technology to move medicines to patients faster, making it what the company described as “one of the most modern commercial-scale biotech manufacturing facilities in the world.”
Where in the past it may have taken six months to more than a year to move a medicine from clinical test to commercialization, Dertsakian said the technology in the new building will cut that to a matter of days.
Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, is considered one of the founders of the biotechnology industry. Roche and Genentech produce medicines at 11 sites worldwide.
The new Oceanside building is the first of its kind in the Roche manufacturing network dedicated to full-scale commercial production. The $450 million in improvements to the Oceanside campus are part of a $700 million investment Genentech is making in advanced manufacturing capabilities in California.
“After more than four decades of manufacturing innovation, we remain committed to our home state of California and continue to invest in new ways to bring medicines to patients quicker and more sustainably,” said CEO Alexander Hardy.
Scheduled to open in early 2025, the approximately 84,000-square-foot building will serve as the model for fast, efficient production of therapeutics for small populations of patients, including personalized and rate disease medicines.
The plant is designed to use 25% less energy and 28% less water and produce 14% less carbon than conventional buildings – and produce no waste to be taken to landfills.
As part of that, Dertsakian said that solar electric panels will be incorporated into a portion of the building facade.
“The idea here is that we would generate a good portion of our energy from the building itself.”
The interior of the building will be largely open to accommodate a modular design so that it can produce more than one medicine at a time and pivot quickly from producing one medicine to another.
“Nothing is bolted down or static,” Dertsakian said. “Everything is configurable. You can move it around and change out the processing equipment.”
As new technology is developed, the modular design “allows is to adapt to the new technology a lot quicker than we were able to do with our traditional technology,” Dertsakian said.
In addition to construction of the new building, the improvements to the Oceanside campus will include the addition of 15,000 square feet of warehouse space to an existing building.
Headquarters: South San Francisco
CEO: Alexander Hardy
Business: Biotechnology company
Notable: Founded more than 45 years ago, Genentech discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious and life-threatening medical conditions. The company is a member of the Roche Group.