Manufacturing news in brief

pharmafile | November 30, 2009 | News story | Manufacturing and Production Abraxis, DSM, Hovione, Lonza 

Pharmafocus’ round-up of developments in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector includes new contracts for CMOs Lonza and DSM, facility news for Abraxis, Hovione and Therapure, and AMRI’s Q3 results.

DSM Pharmaceutical Products has become the preferred commercial-scale manufacturer for French drug delivery specialist Galenix under the terms of a new deal signed by the two companies. They will co-market Galenix formulation technology as well as DSM’s contract manufacturing services to pharmaceutical customers. Galenix has developed technologies to limit the amount of excipients in tablets, improve the absorption of poorly-soluble compounds and sustained-release films and powders for buccal delivery.

US pharmaceutical company Abraxis Biosciences has opened a $70 million manufacturing facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will serve as the primary production site for its pipeline of products. The plant will employ around 200 staff when running at full capacity, and is expected to start production towards the end of next year following inspection and approval by US and European regulatory authorities. The facility’s main product will be cancer drug Abraxane (paclitaxel) which had sales of $83 million in the third quarter of 2009.

Portuguese active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturer Hovione has said it will move more of its production from Europe to China in the “medium term,” according to a report on the Macauhub website available here. The firm’s chief executive Guy Villax said it would retain European plants, however, to meet an anticipated increase in demand for APIs in the coming years. The company currently operates plants in Macau and Zhejiang province and says that soon more than 50% of its staff will be working in China.

Lonza has been awarded the contract to manufacture a cartilage regeneration therapy developed by US-Israeli company ProChon Biotech as a treatment for people with articular cartilage injuries. BioCart is based on a fibroblast growth factor (FGFv2) and in studies has been shown to stimulate the growth of cartilage cells in 10 to 14 days, compared to six weeks or more with other technologies. The product is currently in phase II testing.

US contract development and manufacturing services company AMRI saw sales decline 22% to $48 million in the third quarter of the year, but said “lowered customer demand is bottoming out.” The firm also saw a dramatic reduction in net income to $365,000 from more than $7 million a year ago, but is predicting a return to growth in 2010.

Canada’s Therapure Biopharma will start offering commercial-scale freeze drying (lyophilisation) for biopharmaceuticals early next year, saying that this is not widely available as a contract manufacturing service in the Canadian market. A lyophiliser is currently being installed and will be validated in the New Year, said the firm.

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