BeiGene Wastes No Time, Begins Hiring for New Jersey Campus

By Mark Terry
March 22, 2023

BeiGene, with headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, Beijing, China and Cambridge, Mass., announced its “topping off” ceremony to celebrate the last piece of structural steel laid at its new site at Hopewell, NJ. The company is already beginning hiring, expecting to bring on 100 new employees by the end of this year, with more expected by the time the construction project is completed.

The new site will be the company’s flagship U.S. biologics manufacturing and research-and-development facility. It is being constructed at the Princeton West Innovation Campus in Hopewell, NJ.

Shreya Jani, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, BeiGene, told BioBuzz, “We expect the facility to be completed in the second half of 2024. The Princeton West Innovation Campus will provide state-of-the-art commercial-stage U.S. biologic pharmaceutical manufacturing, late-stage research and clinical development capabilities that complement the company’s existing capabilities around the world.”

BeiGene is a cancer-focused drug company. On January 19, 2023, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) granted marketing authorizations for Brukinsa (zanubrutinib) in Great Britain for adults with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) patients who have received at least one previous anti-CD20-based therapy.

The drug is a highly selective BTK inhibitor. The authorization was based on two global Phase III trials, SEQUOIA, which compared Brukinsa to bendamustine plus rituximab in previously untreated CLL, and ALPINE, which compared Brukinsa to Imbruvica (ibrutinib) in patients with relapsed/refractory CLL. The MZL authorization was based on data from the Phase II MAGNOLIA trial in r/r MZL patients who received at least one anti-CD20 regimen.

Earlier in the year, the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended Brukinsa for Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia (WM) in adults who’d had at least one treatment, only if bendamustine plus rituximab is also suitable. The drug has also been recommended by the Scottish Medicines Consortium for adults with WM who received at least one previous treatment or in first-line treatment for patients not eligible for chemoimmunotherapy.

The drug is authorized in Europe and Northern Ireland. It is approved in more than 60 countries, including the U.S., China, Europe, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, South Korea, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

The new campus in New Jersey will run about 400,000 square feet with the option of adding another 600,000. The project was first announced in 2021. Total investment is expected to total about $700 million.

“Hopewell Township is pleased to see BeiGene following through with its plans to build a state-of-the-art center here,” said Hopewell Township Mayor Michael Ruger in a press statement. “We are excited that our talented and experienced workforce will have the opportunity to help BeiGene develop and manufacture lifesaving medicines.”

When the company broke ground on the site in April 2022, it indicated the Princeton-Hopewell area was a good fit for BeiGene because of its thriving life science community and deep pool of talent.

At the time, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy stated, “BeiGene’s plans for hundreds of new jobs in New Jersey speak to our efforts to grow our state’s business-friendly environment and to our commitment to fostering innovation.”

Jani told BioBuzz, “We are currently hiring for a number of engineering, manufacturing, research and administrative positions for the new site.”

BeiGene acquired the property in November 2021 from Lincoln Equities Group. It hired DPR Construction and IPS-Integrated Project Services as its architectural and engineering firm.

Jani said, “Adding these manufacturing and R&D capabilities in the U.S. is a major step toward fulfilling BeiGene’s vision to create impactful medicines that will be affordable and accessible to far more cancer patients around the world, both through expanded capabilities and a diversified global supply chain.”

Earlier this month, Spark Therapeutics broke ground on its Gene Therapy Innovation Center in University City on the Drexel University Campus in Philadelphia. Spark, now a Roche company, developed the first FDA-approved gene therapy, Luxturna.

Spark is investing $575 million in the new site, which will more than double the company’s physical footprint in the Philadelphia area. It will be 500,000 square feet. It is planned to increase the company’s in-house manufacturing capacity as well as for Roche and its subsidiaries. The site will act as Roche’s flagship center of excellence for gene therapy manufacturing globally.

The Gene Therapy Innovation Center will be staffed by more than 500 people when it opens in 2026. Those 500 will be a mix of new hires and transfers from other Spark locations.

And the Philadelphia region is continuing to develop and grow its real estate for life sciences. A purpose-built facility’s construction at 2500 League Island Boulevard is now complete and ready for tenant improvements (TI) construction. The site is 130,000 square feet and is located in the Philadelphia Navy Yard, a manufacturing hub in the city.