A biotech campus that could include 10 buildings, more than 100,000 square feet and 400 animals will open its first phase next spring.
SAB Biotherapeutics broke ground last week on a first-of-its-kind greenfield biopharmaceutical production pharm in Lincoln County.
SAB, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, develops human antibody therapeutics using plasma from transgenic cattle, dubbed TcBovine. The cattle have been genetically designed to produce large amounts of natural human polyclonal antibodies when vaccinated against a target disease. Plasma is collected from the cattle and purified in the company’s biomanufacturing facility to isolate the antibodies and produce a therapeutic treatment for the disease.
Animal antibodies have been made in rabbits, sheep and horses for use in humans. SAB’s platform is the first to produce fully human antibodies in large animals species like cattle. The 80-acre pharm will be the first of its kind designed for cattle. The current herd will move there from Iowa, but infrastructure will be put in place to grow it tenfold.
The first phase includes a four-building complex with 40,000 square feet and four full-time employees caring for 40 animals. The buildings will be used for birthing and housing the cattle, collecting plasma, research, veterinary care, storage and offices.
The second phase could accommodate 400 animals.
“The pharm is a key component to owning the entire supply chain — from development through production — to improve efficiency and streamline operations while laying an important foundation for more rapid and expansive growth,” said Eddie Sullivan, SAB president, CEO and co-founder.
“At full capacity, just 20 percent of production at the new facility could potentially supply the entire seasonal influenza market.”
The company’s first two treatments are in clinical trials, with other infectious disease, oncology and autoimmune targets in development.
“We believe in the technology and the team,” said president Slater Barr of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, which invested $3 million in the company in January 2015. “These are people we work and live with that are doing amazing things. It’s exciting to see our investment paying dividends in our community and our state while positively impacting mankind.”
The first phase of the project is expected to be done in the spring.
“This is much bigger than the construction of an 80-acre pharm,” said Dan Jenkins, senior director of food and ag for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, or BIO, a trade association representing biotech in 30 countries.
“SAB Biotherapeutics’ platform is breaking new ground in the industry where we go back to nature to find the solutions to today’s challenging health conditions. The pharm is a true example of the concept of one health.”
SAB first came to South Dakota in the early 2000s and has been a leader in the biotech industry, Gov. Dennis Daugaard said.
“Their scientists continue to develop and deliver innovative technologies that have the potential to treat harmful diseases like Ebola, Zika and influenza, giving hope to many that struggle with illness,” Daugaard said. “We are proud that SAB continues to call South Dakota home.”