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SGF Santé and DSM inaugurate a new 2,000 litre fermentor for biopharmaceuticals

DSM Biologics aims for global leadership position among independent contract manufacturers for the pharmaceutical industry

Montréal, May 9, 2001 - DSM Biologics, a business unit of the DSM Fine Chemicals business group, today brought on stream a new 2,000‑litre fermentation unit at its Montreal site for the preparation of biopharmaceuticals on the basis of cell cultures. This new CAN 9 million unit, which was officially opened by Peter Elverding, chairman of the DSM Managing Board, is DSM Biologics’ response to the increased demand for fermentation capacity, in particular for the preparation of biopharmaceutical products.


The new fermentation unit consists of clean rooms and a fermentor train. The fermentor train consists of two seed fermentors of 50 and 320 litres for culturing cells and a 2,000‑litre production fermentor. DSM Biologics amply meets the quality standards set by the pharmaceutical industry (cGMP). The DSM Biologics site in Montreal is jointly owned by DSM and Societé générale de financement du Québec (SGF).




The fact that the new unit was officially opened by DSM Managing Board chairman Peter Elverding underlined the importance of the role played by DSM Biologics’ ambitions in DSM’s transformation into a specialty company. The ceremony was also attended by representatives of the Province of Quebec, which supports the establishment and development of advanced biotechnological industries in the Montreal region.


In his speech Peter Elverding made reference to the strong growth in the market for biopharmaceutical products. “Some 30% of all new pharmaceutical products in clinical trial are currently made on the basis of biopharmaceutical technologies,” he said.


Current global capacity for pharmaceutical contract manufacturing is not capable of meeting future demand. Three years ago sales were about CAN 300 million of dollars. Within the next five years the market is expected to grow to around CAN 2 billion of dollars.


"Today’s inauguration illustrates the extent to which investments –such as the one by SGFNdash; play an essential role in allowing partnering companies to conquer international markets," explains Mr. Francis Bellido, President and Chief Operating Officer, SGF Health. "The acquisition of the 2000‑litre fermentor, an extremely specialized production tool, will allow DSM to market locally‑manufactured biopharmaceutical products to clinical researchers around the world. We are very proud to be a contributor to this project."


DSM Biologics


DSM Biologics is one of the world’s leading contract manufacturers of biopharmaceuticals. The company is recognized for its experience with a range of different expression systems (microbial and mammalian) and its expertise in a variety of fermentation and purification techniques. DSM Biologics was established in 1986. The company currently employs 200 people at two cGMP facilities, a 3,500 m2 facility in Groningen (the Netherlands) and a 6,500 m2 facility in Montreal.


DSM Biologics started production in Montreal a little over three years ago. “DSM Biologics currently holds the number 4 position on the world market and our aim is to secure a solid, world‑leading position in biopharmaceuticals within three years,” said Peter Elverding. Elverding also expects major advantages to be gained from the synergy generated between DSM Biologics and Catalytica Pharmaceuticals (now DSM Catalytica Pharmaceuticals), a company acquired last year by DSM. These two DSM Fine Chemicals business units together cover a large part of the value chain, from the manufacture of bulk actives and active ingredients to (sterile) dosage formulation.




DSM is a highly integrated international group of companies that is active worldwide in life science products, performance materials, polymers and industrial chemicals. DSM has annual sales of EUR 8.1 billion and employs about 22,000 people at 200 sites worldwide.


Société générale de financement du Québec


The mission of the Société générale de financement du Québec is, in cooperation with partners and under conditions of normal profitability, to carry out economic development projects. Since its restructuring in 1998, SGF has generated investments of close to CAN 4.4 billion and created over 19,400 direct and indirect jobs in projects that have reached the operating stage, without counting the thousands of jobs created during the construction stage. As at September 30, 2000, the consolidated assets of SGF ran at over CAN 2.2 billion. SGF has 52 international partners carrying out operations in Quebec.


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For more information:


Ms. Sylvie Brousseau
Director, Communications


Rik van Druten
DSM Press Office

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