Scorpion has entered a planned development partnership to construct a biodefense and biomanufacturing facility in Manhattan, Kansas.

Millie Nelson, Editor

April 29, 2022

3 Min Read
Scorpion to build $650m biodefense-focused plant in Kansas
Image: Stock Photo Secrets

CDMO Scorpion Biological Services has entered a planned development partnership to construct a biodefense and biomanufacturing facility in Manhattan, Kansas.

Contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) Scorpion has announced a development collaboration with a private developer, the state of Kansas, and university affiliates to build a biodefense-focused large molecule and biologics biomanufacturing plant.

According to the CDMO, the 500,000 square-foot plant will service around 144,000 L of biomanufacturing capacity across 48 bioreactors, which is being designed for large molecule biologics production.


Image: Stock Photo Secrets

“We are very excited to break ground on this new facility. There is a strong demand for world-class biomanufacturing, which we expect to continue well into the future. We’re looking forward to rapidly growing and expanding Scorpion, and Manhattan is the perfect location for our newest facility,” said David Halverson, president of Scorpion.

The firm claims the facility is being designed to be as flexible and versatile as possible with most of the plant being dedicated to commercial CDMO services, as well as Scorpion looking into the design of trains focused on other products for Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).

Scorpion says this is partly because 70% of the drug products in the SNS will be gone over the next four years. Additionally, where possible, the firm wants to use a US-based supply chain, starting with the decision to use Pall bioreactors.

According to the firm, the relationship with BARDA and other US Federal Government entities is through a sister company of Scorpion’s,  Elusys Therapeutics,  which markets an Anthrax Countermeasure that has received upwards of $400 million in procurement and research and development support from US Government entities.

Specific goals

Scorpion says one specific goal of the Kansas plant will be to support scale production of Anthim (obiltoxaximab), an antitoxin against anthrax, which could be used in defense against a potential anthrax attack when alternative therapies are not available or are not appropriate.

The firm intends to begin manufacturing Anthim by mid-2024 to meet Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and Department of Defense (DoD) requirements for the SNS.

To meet this demand, the company is preparing a phased building approach to complete the production train for Anthim first, and then plans to construct a new train every 15 months thereafter.

Close concentration

Scorpion says it considered locations in 23 states but chose Manhattan, Kansas due to the city’s concentration of biodefense organizations. This includes the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) – the US government’s agricultural biothreat research laboratory, and Kansas State University’s Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI).

Once construction is complete, the CDMO believes the facility will have a billion-dollar affect on the State of Kansas, and plans to employ over 500 individuals, mostly from the local talent pool. The firm has already started a project to transfer bioprocessing programs from Texas.

“We are thankful for our developing partnership with Kansas State University and the Manhattan Area Technical College in training the next generation of scientists, and we will look forward to working with Fort Riley as well as we look to hiring transitioning soldiers and their spouses,” Scorpion told us.

“As far as talent recruitment and retention, we believe the extraordinarily high salaries we will offer, and superb quality of life for families in Manhattan, will make coming to and staying at Scorpion an easy decision for our workforce.”

The company has begun a project to transfer bioprocessing programs from Texas A&M University to Kansas State University and the Manhattan Area Technical College to help train Scorpion’s future workforce.

Scorpion anticipates that the facility will be complete, fully operational and staffed by April 2027.

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

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