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Takeda expansion is latest coup for Conejo Valley pharma industry

By   /   Thursday, July 22nd, 2021  /   Comments Off on Takeda expansion is latest coup for Conejo Valley pharma industry

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Takeda Pharmaceuticals in Thousand Oaks. The company will break ground July 22 on an expansion of this facility. (courtesy photo)

Takeda Pharmaceuticals, a Japanese company with major operations in the Conejo Valley, will expand its facility in Thousand Oaks, investing $126 million to build out the manufacturing operations to support new product lines.

The Takeda team, alongside the mayor of Thousand Oaks, Claudia Bill-de la Peña, is scheduled to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the project on July 22 — the same day a biotech startup, Capsida Biotherapeutics, is set to officially open its Thousand Oaks facility a mile down the road.

“We identified the Thousand Oaks site as a strategic site based on capability, staffing, as well as the local community and the things we could bring to the area,” Stephen Hatke, vice president of manufacturing operations and site head of the Thousand Oaks office, told the Business Times.

Haider Alawami, economic development manager for the city of Thousand Oaks, said this decision by Takeda is a “win-win” for the city and the company.

“This is a significant expansion of their manufacturing facilities in the city and with the money they invested, that is going to generate a lot of interest and activity in the area in addition to the jobs that are going to be created,” Alawami told the Business Times.

Takeda has been in the Thousand Oaks area since 1996. Its expansion will happen at its current location of 1700 Rancho Conejo Blvd. and includes a new 15,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and a renovation of the existing 14,000-square-foot manufacturing space.

Currently, the Thousand Oaks location employs around 550 people, and Takeda plans to add a few more with the expansion, though nothing is certain, Hatke said.

What is certain, however, is Takeda’s commitment to technology and innovation. Hatke said the new facilities will focus on evolving the company’s technology, focusing more on robotics as well as pushing the boundary with virtual reality equipment and training. The new site will also let Takeda expand its products and treatments.

“The most exciting part and one of the core parts of this expansion is building out our health services and therapeutics area and allow us to serve patients that we don’t currently treat and illnesses that we don’t currently treat,” Hatke said.

The Conejo Valley is becoming a bustling area for biotech startups, but also for existing companies like Takeda that want to expand in the area. Three years ago, the City Council approved a plan to encourage further innovation in the area, especially in the biotech and pharmaceutical field, Alawami said.

Now, the city is seeing that investment pay off.

Westlake Village BioPartners, a Thousand Oaks-based venture capital firm focused on biotech companies in the greater Los Angeles region, has invested $500 million into startups and bringing existing companies to the area.

It has also worked with Alexandria Real Estate Equities to secure laboratory and office space in the area for its startups. Alexandria is developing a three-building, 130,000-square-foot life sciences campus in Thousand Oaks, with 30,000 square feet already in operation.

One of the first companies Westlake Village BioPartners invested in, Capsida Biotherapeutics, plans to celebrate the grand opening of its new 15,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at 1300 Rancho Conejo Blvd. on July 22 — just a mile away from, and an hour before, the Takeda groundbreaking.

Alawami said the city is talking to companies from the East Coast, Washington state and San Diego that want to come to Thousand Oaks because “they want to be a part of this ecosystem.”

“We always had Amgen and Takeda, but now we are seeing other companies and startups growing here in this area, and it’s an exciting time, and it’s what we have been working toward,” Alawami said.

Hatke said having so many biotech companies in the area drives competition between companies, but they also benefit from the concentration of firms and employees.

“It allows us to develop each other, share staff, see the technology and innovation and grow together,” Hatke said.

In addition to improving existing facilities, Takeda has also made an environmental commitment to have a 46% reduction in greenhouse gas use by 2025 and be carbon-free by 2040.

It is also planning a major expansion in solar energy, which already generates enough power to account for 40% of the electricity used on the site.

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