Stellar Biotechnologies Expands Operations At Port of Hueneme, California
The company currently leases 37,000 square feet of oceanfront property at the Port. In addition to the company's plans to expand its U.S production capacity, Stellar also plans to establish additional aquaculture capabilities in Baja California, including the development of regional marine resources, aquaculture and raw material processing.
The company, which is currently conducting feasibility analyses in Mexico, believes that two production locations will allow it to better meet the anticipated long-term industry demand for KLH protein.
According to company officials, the project will allow the company to expand production of a medical-grade protein, called KLH, which Stellar produces in aquaculture from a marine mollusk. The plan includes 10,000 square feet of renovated Pacific ocean-front space for aquaculture production and related activities as well as new protective structures and aesthetic improvements.
The company currently maintains an animal population to produce KLH to support multiple pre-commercial clinical trials, officials explained. Once key infrastructure is in place, the company plans to incrementally add to its production capacity, including the installation of more aquaculture tanks. The planned upgrades will allow a multifold expansion of the company's current site capacity.
The first phase of Stellar's expansion project, which was completed in 2016, included improvements to the company's extraction and manufacturing suites, expanded hatchery space and the temporary relocation of its aquaculture production tanks to allow the permitting and development of its water-front site.
Stellar President & CEO Frank Oakes said that the company plans to incrementally increase production capacity in line with customers' clinical milestones and market opportunities for KLH.
"We are preparing our infrastructure to support pharmaceutical industry standards for commercial drugs, including purity, controls and traceability," he said. "By staging these investments, we can prepare the business for growth while minimizing upfront costs."
Stellar Biotechnologies has operated since 1999 at the aquaculture business park, where it pioneered complex methods for the culture of the source animal, the Giant Keyhole Limpet, a previously undomesticated mollusk that is native to the California coastline.
"As a science-based company, our business requires flexibility as we grow, and we have appreciated the support we have received from both the City and the Port over the years in upgrading our facilities," said Gregory T. Baxter, PhD, Stellar Executive Vice President of Corporate Development. "In addition to greater operational flexibility, our current expansion project will allow us to continue our research of this important marine species to ensure that future immunotherapies will have ample supplies of KLH."
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