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The new Thermo Fisher facility in Ogden is one of the most modern bioprocessing hubs in the country. Here's what that means for our biotech industry.

Thermo Fisher’s new facility in Ogden signals Utah’s status as a hub for bioprocessing

As we have seen over the past couple of years, major economic, manufacturing, and healthcare-related bottlenecks can result from a plethora of causes in a fairly short amount of time. One of these underlying causes involves the manufacturing and distributing of necessary materials and equipment to perform specialized tasks and functions in our society. 

Now, one significant player in this space of bioprocessing manufacturing (essentially how important materials and reagents are made for biotechnology and healthcare functions), Thermo Fisher, has expanded its footprint to Ogden.

You may know Thermo Fisher from a number of different avenues. The company’s reach in bioprocessing is, perhaps, unmatched. Thermo Fisher is divided into a web-like structure with different “specialties” of manufacturing, including ThermoScientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, FisherScientific, Unity Lab Services, Patheon, and PPD. These specialty groups manufacture everything from pipette tips and glassware for research labs to instruments, equipment, software, services, and consumables. These items address a range of needs from sample, material characterization, and chemical analysis to clinical diagnoses and biological-based therapeutics manufacturing.

So what exactly is bioprocessing manufacturing to Thermo Fisher? And what is the potential impact their expanding presence in Weber County will bring? 

The Ogden facility produces single-use consumables and critical raw materials that are vital in developing new vaccines and breakthrough therapies,” says Caleb Jones, associate director of manufacturing operations at Thermo Fisher Scientific. “More specifically, this 55,000-square-foot facility produces highly-customizable bioprocess container systems that are used for the delivery, processing, separation, storage and transportation of critical liquids during production. This $44 million facility is part of Thermo Fisher’s more than $650 million investment in capacity expansions for bioproduction. It helps ensure sufficient supply of these important systems so customers can reliably deliver life-saving vaccines and therapies, including those for Covid, to patients around the world.”

Thermo Fisher hopes its bioprocessing footprint expansion will curtail some of the bottlenecks our world had the displeasure of experiencing over these past couple of years—and Ogden really is “the place” for Thermo Fisher’s objectives moving forward. 

“Thermo Fisher is already an integral part of Utah’s thriving technology and biotech community, with additional sites in Logan and South Jordan,” Jones says. “Proximity to these other sites and firsthand knowledge of Utah’s highly talented workforce and strong business community made Ogden a natural choice for expanding our capacity to serve customers.”

The team at Thermo Fisher has high hopes that this move will also benefit Utahns. 

“More than 300 colleagues have already been hired to oversee production and operations,” Jones says. “The site can eventually employ up to 450 colleagues across many areas, including safety, quality, manufacturing, HR, engineering, and warehouse. Residents of Ogden and surrounding communities can see current job opportunities right now on Thermo Fisher’s careers page.

The BioUtah community will certainly be looking to Thermo Fisher to engage head-on as a stakeholder in this emerging enterprise within the BioHive. There really is no place like Utah in the current economic landscape. 

“Thermo Fisher’s investment in Ogden is a signal to others in the industry that Utah is now a hub for bioprocessing and related technologies,” Jones says. “The company currently employs more than 2,000 colleagues across three locations in the state…As demand grows for single-use technologies and other products and services for biopharma, we may find that Utah is on every company’s shortlist of best places to locate.”

Jeremie is an experienced MedTech and healthcare consultant, research scientist, entrepreneur, and clinician-in-training. He is passionate about identifying clinical shortcomings and developing patient-centered solutions through novel therapeutic approaches, healthcare delivery optimization, and translational research innovation.

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