Dendreon extends lease on Atlanta Provenge plant

Dendreon has extended the lease for the facility in Union City near Atlanta where it makes its prostate cancer cell therapy, Provenge (sipuleucel-T).

The Chinese-owned cell therapy firm first leased the 155,000 square-foot facility in 2009, shortly before Provenge was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The extension covers use of the Union City site through to 2029.

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Christina Yi, chief operations officer at Dendreon said, “Over the past 10 years, we have grown locally, building key relationships that allow us to sustain our unique business.

“We look forward to continuing to attract diverse local talent who will help us bring Provenge to more men with advanced prostate cancer.”

The lease extension is the second Dendreon has announced this year. In May it secured use of a facility in Seal Beach, California through to 2030.

Manufacturing process

Making Provenge is a multi-stage process, the first of which involves taking blood samples a patient in order to isolate dendritic cells, which deliver antigens to T-cells and B-cells.

The isolation process – known as leukapheresis – is conducted on Dendreon’s behalf by Charles River Labs’ acquisition target Hemacare.

The isolated dendritic cells are then cultured with prostatic acid phosphatase, a protein found in 95% of prostate cancers.

The antigen loaded cells are then administered to the patient, triggering an immune reaction.

Bankruptcy and back

Manufacture has been a challenge for Dendreon. In 2012, just a year after Provenge was launched, the firm announced it was restructuring its production operations in a bid to lower costs.

The plan – which saw Dendreon sell its plant in Morris Plains, New Jersey to Novartis a few months later – was unsuccessful and in 2014 Dendreon filed for bankruptcy. Shortly afterwards the firm was acquired by Valeant.

In 2017, Valeant sold Dendreon to China-based Sanpower group. At the time Sanpower said it “plans to accelerate Provenge sales penetration in the United States and also align its own resources to introduce Provenge to China and other major markets in Asia.

Last year Sanpower sold Dendreon to a retail firm called Cenbest in which it holds a major stake.

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