The drug in question, VT-111, is currently in Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of the inflammation associated with acute coronary syndrome and was recently identified as one the ten most promising cardiovascular drug candidates in development. "We have entrusted Diosynth with the clinical manufacturing of our lead drug candidate as they have proven themselves to be world leaders in this area," said Neil Warma, president and CEO of Viron. "The manufacturing process developed will ultimately support pivotal trials and the eventual market launch of VT-111 and we are pleased to have such a strong partner in Diosynth." Diosynth, a division of Organon that supplies biopharma contract manufacturing services, will make the clinical trial quantities of the drug from its small-scale plant in North Carolina, US. It also has a large-scale cell culture facility in the Netherlands that can manufacture commercial quantities. The firm recently also scored a long-term contract to supply the recombinant protein antigen component of Dendreon's novel vaccine for prostate cancer - the third most common cancer in the world. The bio-outsourcing industry is approaching boom time, as the number of new drugs produced using this method is set to dramatically increase over the next few years. By 2008 over 50 per cent of biopharma companies will outsource at least some aspect of their biomanufacturing activities, up from 35 per cent in 2004, according to a report from UK business intelligence firm Piribo.
This is because by its very nature, biomanufacturing is a very complex, costly and labour-intensive process and these factors, coupled with ongoing labour shortages and staggering costs of building biomanufacturing facilities, are forcing many biopharma firms turn to outsourcing for help as they struggle to make enough product to meet escalating demand.