World-Scale Project Evonik Invests 220-Million-Dollars for New Lipid Production Facility in USA
In collaboration with the U.S. Government, Evonik has plans to develop a new world-scale lipid production facility at the company’s Tippecanoe site in Lafayette, Indiana, USA for Mrna-based therapies.
Essen/Germany – Evonik is building a new, highly flexible, global-scale production facility for pharmaceutical lipids in the United States. The new plant at Evonik’s Tippecanoe site in Lafayette, Indiana, will broadly position the Group for future growth in novel Mrna-based therapies beyond Covid-19 vaccines and strengthen its leading role as a strategic partner for innovative pharmaceutical companies worldwide. Construction will begin in early 2023, and the plant is scheduled to go onstream in 2025. The investment into the lipid facility will help create more than 80 highly skilled jobs in the Lafayette region.
The total investment amounts to 220-million-dollars. The U.S. Government is funding the facility with up to 150 million dollars through its Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (Barda), a component of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Additional support will be provided by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), Greater Lafayette Commerce (GLC), and Duke Energy.
The Tippecanoe site in Indiana is Evonik’s preferred location for this project due to its existing infrastructure, a highly skilled workforce, and readily available technologies. Tippecanoe is one of the world’s largest sites for active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and Evonik's second-largest site in the U.S., with around 650 employees.
“As a strategic partner for pharma and biotech companies, we are using the new facility to support our customers in developing nucleic acid-based drugs right up to commercialization. These new therapies are the future,” says Thomas Riermeier, head of Evonik's Health Care business. “We are also evaluating further expansion of our formulation services and scale-up capacity, thereby consolidating our leading position as an end-to-end provider.” Pharmaceutical formulation is a multi-step process of mixing the active drug with all other components.
The new multi-purpose facility will allow the rapid and flexible production of a variety of lipids. These will serve future applications of Mrna technology in infectious disease control, cancer immunotherapy, protein replacement, and gene therapy. Furthermore, the new facility ensures a rapid and extensive supply of lipids as needed in case of a future pandemic.
Lipids, molecules that make up the building blocks of living cells, are critical to producing Mrna-based drugs. The Mrna is enclosed in a lipid nanoparticle (LNP) composed of specific lipids. The LNP protects the Mrna and delivers it safely into the cell, where it is released. LNPs are currently the most advanced drug delivery system and have gained worldwide acceptance in the fight against Covid-19 due to their versatility.