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Ionis, a frequent Big Pharma partner, plots new manufacturing site to support pipeline

Ionis Pharmaceuticals will soon have some new manufacturing digs to help produce its wide range of pipeline meds.

Wednesday, the company unveiled plans for a new development, chemistry and manufacturing site in Oceanside, California. At an expected 217,000 square feet, the site will be double the size of Ionis’ current Carlsbad, California, site, the company said.

Ionis is partnering up with real estate development company Sudberry Properties for the site. Sudberry will construct the shell, while Ionis will design and “construct improvements” for the facility, the company said in a statement. Their agreement lets Ionis lease the property for 20 years and includes two 10-year options to renew the lease along with a right to purchase the site down the line.

The site will come equipped with advanced sustainability and environmental protection features, including generating 50% of its power from solar panels.

Ionis expects to occupy the new site by 2025 and begin manufacturing active pharmaceutical ingredients by mid-2026.

The new facility will support the company’s growing pipeline, which includes products across therapeutic areas including cardio-renal, neurological, infectious disease, rare disease and hematology. Drugs in its pipeline have attracted big-name partners such as AstraZeneca, Novartis and Roche, and a good portion of its pipeline is in phase 3 development.

Just recently, an Ionis and AstraZeneca partnered cholesterol drug beat placebo but fell short of the bar to move into phase 3. Then there is the company’s anti-thrombotic therapy with Bayer, which met its main goal in a phase 2 trial earlier this summer. In addition, Ionis’ Biogen-partnered ALS drug has scored priority review status using 12-month data despite a phase 3 trial failure.

Meanwhile, the manufacturing news comes a year after the company laid off 70% of Akcea Therapeutics’ 300-strong staff after taking over that company. At the time, Ionis called the layoffs a reorganization of the workforce to “better align with immediate needs of its business.”