Pharmaceutical giant Bayer plans 30-year expansion of its Berkeley site

Bayer Pharmaceutical company in Berkeley, California
Samuel Albillo/File
Bayer's Berkeley site, which opened in late 2000, will be nearly doubled in size in order to accommodate additional manufacturing buildings and the expansion of its operations.

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Bayer, a multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company, is planning to significantly expand its Berkeley site over the next 30 years.

Bayer’s Berkeley location, which opened in 1974, serves primarily as a manufacturing facility for anti-clotting drugs for hemophilia patients. The planned expansion would add about 1 million square feet of development by February 2032, almost doubling the size of the current 1.18 million-square-foot site.

“We’re building on a strong foundation in biologics development and biomanufacturing at this site and plan to diversify our operations,” said Drew Johnston, the vice president of site engineering for Bayer’s Berkeley site.

According to Bayer spokesperson Cathy Keck in an email, Bayer is Berkeley’s largest employer in the private sector and employs 1,000 personnel — a number expected to double over the next 30 years.

The Berkeley site’s investment in new facilities and technologies will allow it to maintain its operations for the development and manufacturing of hemophilia drugs, while also branching out to making medicines to treat other diseases, according to Johnston.

Johnston added that Bayer’s Berkeley site will both manufacture drugs for clinical trials and launch approved products for global markets.

“Bayer plans to leverage breaking scientific advances and highly flexible facilities to accelerate next generation medicines for cancer, cardiovascular and other patients,” Johnston said.

The company is currently in discussion with Berkeley’s Department of Planning and Development. The planned 30-year expansion, submitted in March, is an amendment to the original 1992 development agreement.

Since 1992, Bayer has provided community benefits and funding of more than $30 million, according to Johnston. He added that the investments have ranged from public infrastructure to the Biotech Partners program, which trains underserved local youth for career-track jobs in the sciences.

The submitted proposal outlines a plan to build manufacturing buildings that can handle raw materials and drug intermediates, as well as implement environmental controls and biosafety measures. The expansion will also include the construction of new office space, amenities and receiving and shipping facilities.

“The extension of the Development Agreement for another 30 years is a public process which we expect to conclude by late 2021,” Keck said in the email.

Keck added that the first step in the city’s review of Bayer’s application is an assessment required under the California Environmental Quality Act, which will include multiple opportunities for public comment.

Contact Jessica Li at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @JessicaLi57.

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Bayer’s Berkeley site opened in 2000. In fact, Bayer’s presence in Berkeley started in 1974 with the acquisition of Cutter Laboratories.