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From cells to packaging

Date: 29/12/2022

The Biotech Center of Excellence brings the future of medicine and science to Parma


With the ground-breaking ceremony on November 21, 2022, construction work for the new Biotech Center of Excellence is progressing apace and according to plan. The new hub for the development of biological products, expected to be fully operational in 2024, will strengthen European capabilities for innovative production. Even more, it is a powerful response to the challenges highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the need to improve the resilience of healthcare systems.


The Coronavirus has made clear how important it is to give weight to scientific research and pharmaceutical development, and the role that industry may play in this. The apparent overload of the healthcare system calls for faster scientific and medical innovation to tackle challenges now and, in the years, to come. An innovative approach is vital to ensure strategic autonomy and access to innovation in the pharmaceutical sector.


It has always been essential to invest in research as a way of making our country and Europe sovereign in production and access to innovation.

Alberto Chiesi, President of Chiesi Group 


This perception is in contrast to the current situation in Europe. Underestimating the strategic role of the pharmaceutical sector has led to an increasing 'off-shore' development of cutting-edge technologies outside Europe. This is particularly striking in the field of biotechnology. While pharmaceutical R&D spending is growing rapidly in the U.S. and China, Europe's share of global R&D investment and its position as a leading center for biopharmaceutical innovation is dwindling. R&D investment in Europe increased 4.5-fold between 1990 and 2017, whereas in the U.S., it increased more than 8-fold across the same period[1]. Consequently, Europe has been unable to maintain its share of the global biotech market, which has grown steadily at an annual rate of more than 12% over the past 30 years. Only 22% of the world's newly developed therapies originate from Europe, almost half from the U.S., and the remainder from China and other parts of Asia.


Investing in Biotech, we are investing in the medicine of the future, as we prepare for future challenges.

Antonio Magnelli, Head of Global Manufacturing Division of Chiesi Group


According to a recent report[1] commissioned by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), the factors behind the decline in Europe’s attractiveness as a center for biopharmaceutical investments are many:


  • focus on spending across member states rather than leading clusters,
  • the decline of biopharma headquarters,
  • siloed approach to policymaking,
  • missed opportunities in new therapeutic solutions and digital transformation,
  • and the geopolitical and regulatory environment.


Lately, the global economy has been derailed by major disruptive events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, frictions in global trade, the climate crisis, and global energy shortage. Particularly with the COVID-19 pandemic, greater focus has been given to the resilience of pharmaceutical supply chains and demands for the localization of manufacturing. To achieve Italian and European sovereignty in production and access to innovation, institutions need to create an agile and future-proof regulatory framework and strong incentives to encourage progress in science, technology, and innovative medicines. This is the only approach that will allow growth in Europe’s attractiveness for biopharmaceutical investments and keep pace with the impact and risks posed by the evolving geopolitical environment. The decision to locate the new hub close to the headquarters in Parma addresses these concerns.


Furthermore, the Biotech Center of Excellence marks a significant milestone in driving an innovative pipeline and creating opportunities for future collaborations. It will provide an attractive option for young European biotech to invest in Europe while at the same time generating new capabilities for Chiesi´s future.



The Biotech Center of Excellence


Start of operation: 2024

Investment: 85 million euros

Purpose: development and production of biological active ingredients, including monoclonal antibodies, enzymes and other proteins

Range of activity: from cells to packaging

Goal: point of reference for the entire pharmaceutical sector by developing in-house therapeutic solutions, as well as collaborating and implementing synergistic projects with other companies

Staff: 105 highly qualified people



[1] https://www.efpia.eu/news-events/the-efpia-view/blog-articles/eu-industrial-and-pharmaceutical-strategy-an-opportunity-to-drive-europe-s-health-and-growth/

[2] https://www.efpia.eu/media/676753/cra-efpia-investment-location-final-report.pdf