Roche has announced plans to invest heavily in expanding its global biologics manufacturing network.

The Swiss major is spending 800 million Swiss francs ($879.3 million) over the next five years to increase production capabilities for its biologics. The investment will be spread across sites in Penzberg (Germany), Basel (Switzerland), as well as Vacaville and Oceanside (California), creating  500 jobs.

Specifically, 260 million francs will be spent at the California facilities, creating around 250 posts, while in Penzberg, Roche will invest 350 million Swiss francs toward increased manufacturing capacity and equipment refurbishment, creating 200 positions. The firm is also building a 190 million franc antibody-drug conjugate production facility in Basel, which will provide "additional capacity and flexibility" to support Roche’s first approved ADC, the breast cancer Kadcyla (trastuzumab emtansine) and a further eight ADCs in clinical development.

The company said that the investments will support increasing demand for biologics such as  such as the rheumatoid arthritis  drug RoActemra (tocilizumab) and another new breast cancer therapy, Perjeta (pertuzumab), "alongside providing a strong foundation for the delivery of 39 investigational biologic medicines in the Roche pipeline".

Daniel O’Day, chief operating officer of Roche’s pharmaceuticals division, noted that biologics "have become an essential part of modern medicine" and the company is committed to making "the necessary investments to ensure ongoing supply of these medicines at the highest quality standards”.