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Checkbiotech: Pharma capital investments round-up
Posted by: DR. RAUPP & madora (IP Logged)
Date: September 29, 2004 07:48AM ;

This week has seen several companies unveil significant capital investments
in new production and research units, and once again production facilities
for biological drugs ? currently said to be suffering from undercapacity -
feature strongly, September 2004.

A new player on the contract biomanufacturing scene ? France?s LemnaGene -
has opened its new laboratory and biomanufacturing facility in the
incubation space for new projects, located in Lyon.

The company specialises in making proteins in the aquatic plant organism
Spirodela, commonly known as duckweed, and has also just produced its first
transgenic Spirodela containing genes of interest to industrial partners.
The company was only formed in October 2003, and has three validation
partnerships in place for protein production in this plant-based system.

Meanwhile, US biotechnology company Biolex has just opened a new 4,500-
square-foot clinical manufacturing facility in Pittsboro, North Carolina,
that will have capacity sufficient to produce one million doses per year of
alpha interferon, a recombinant human protein used to treat infectious
diseases such as hepatitis C.

Biolex is developing alpha interferon as its lead product. It has initiated
current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) production of the protein and
expects to file an investigational new drug application (IND) with the US
Food and Drug Administration during 2004.

The facility will also be used to make clinical-scale quantities of the
other protein therapeutics Biolex is expressing for its biopharmaceutical

Drug delivery company GelStat has opened its 2,000-square-foot R&D
laboratory in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The US firm specialises in developing
gel-based therapeutics that are dosed and retained under the tongue using a
proprietary disposable dispenser.

An initial over-the-counter (OTC) product to treat migraine based on this
OraDose technology is already in clinical testing.

In addition to the work on OraDose,the new unit will conduct research on
GelStat?s developmental drug delivery portfolio.

And in Japan, Kirin Brewery has announced that it will establish its
Pharmaceutical Frontier Laboratory, a facility for pharmaceutical research
and development activities, on 1 October.

Located in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, the new facility will carry out
long-term technology development activities focusing on next-generation drug
discoveries. It will have 15 researchers by 2006.

Finally, Canadian scientific instrumentation company MDS Sciex has announced
plans to open a new open a new manufacturing facility in Singapore that will
complement its existing plant in Concord, Ontario.

The new facility in Singapore will become operational in 2005 and will
initially make MDS Sciex? Cellular Analysis (MiWave) product line. A
transition of selected mass spectrometer manufacturing will start in 2006.

The company said that the Singapore facility will manufacture its lower
complexity, higher volume instruments while the more complex instruments
will continue to be manufactured in the Concord facility.


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