Rentschler Biotechnologie has heralded the start of a €50m expansion to increase its capacity to produce antibodies and mammalian cell culture-derived proteins on a commercial scale.
The German contract manufacturing organisation (CMO) currently has the capacity to make clinical and commercial supplies of low-dosed drugs such as cytokines, however, the firm can only make clinical supplies of antibodies up to Phase II.
In order to establish itself as a as a market supplier of antibodies, the firm will build two new fermentation suites, each with a volume of 2500L, to make commercial quantities of antibodies as well as several smaller suites ranging from 250 to 500L to make clinical supply quantities.
Rentschler said that the expansion, being carried out at its existing site in Laupheim, Germany, will be finished by early 2008 and will create more than 100 highly skilled jobs.
The biopharmaceutical sector is proving lucrative for pharma companies, with approximately one-fourth of new drugs coming on the market being biopharmaceuticals and annual sales projected to surpass $52bn (€41bn) by 2010.
Monoclonal antibodies, for example, have been hailed as the cutting edge of science and are being used to develop new biopharmaceuticals that can specifically target antigens unique to cancer cells and destroy these cells without harming healthy tissue.
"As more and more pharmaceutical companies begin to make biopharmaceuticals, we are experiencing demand from our customers to make antibodies," a company spokesperson told In-Pharmatechnologist.com.
"By setting up additional fermenter suites, we will expand our range of custom manufacturing services to span from cell line development to large-scale cGMP production, registration of drugs and fill and finish."