Global Markets

Q2 Results: Bioprocessing Vendors Return to Double-Digit Growth

Thermo Fisher and Sartorius are among bioprocessing vendors reporting a return to double-digit year-on-year growth, following ‘lumpy’ results in the same quarter 2017. For the second quarter 2018, Thermo Fisher reported revenues from its Life Sciences Solution segment of US$1.6 billion (€1.4 billion), up 12% on the same period last year. Fellow vendor Sartorius reported Q2 sales in its Bioprocessing Solutions unit up 14% in constant currency over last year, pulling in €287 million ($336 million), while order uptake was…

Bioproduction: A ‘Tale of Two Facilities,’ Says Jacobs

The advent of single-use bioreactors has revolutionized facility design says Jacobs, which has worked in the biomanufacturing sector for almost 30 years. As the biotech industry matured in the 1990s, Jacobs Engineering acquired Triad Technologies and Sigel Group to expand its expertise in designing and constructing biotechnology facilities. The firm has since been involved in many of the most prominent biomanufacturing facilities over the past few decades, working on Schering-Plough’s (now Merck & Co.) facility in Tuas, Singapore; Bristol-Myers Squibb’s…

Neupogen Biosimilar Success: Pfizer Banks on Discounts and Patient Confidence

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Pfizer’s Nivestym; a second biosimilar of Amgen’s Neupogen (filgrastim). In March 2015, the FDA approved its first biosimilar: a version of Neupogen called Zarxio, marketed by Novartis subsidiary Sandoz. Three years later and a second filgrastim biosimilar is close to being available after the FDA approved Pfizer’s product NIvestym. A spokesperson from the Biopharma firm told BioProcess Insider Pfizer will be able to compete against both Amgen’s reference biologic and Sandoz’s…

Univercells $19m Booster Shot to Help Disrupt Vaccine Industry

Traditional vaccine makers have limited incentive to invest in new technologies and processes says Univercells, which hopes to advance its own viral vaccines produced in micro-facilities. Univercells has raised €16 million (US$18.7 million) of funding in a Series B financing round led by Global Health Investment Fund. Some of the capital will be used to increase the impact of its proprietary viral platform through the expansion of its portfolio. “Following the platform proof of concept, with its sIPV development program…

Newly Public Rubius Investing $155m to Renovate Rhode Island Plant

Rubius Therapeutics will use some of the US$241 million (€207 million) raised in its initial public offering (IPO) to buy and refurbish a manufacturing facility. The biotech firm begins trading on Nasdaq Global Select Market today (July 18) after raising $241 million from the public offering of 10,483,000 shares of common stock. According to the firm’s Form S-1, filed with the SEC, some of the proceeds will be used to “purchase, renovate and customize the manufacturing facility for which we…

Shanghai Filling Line is Latest Investment in China for B-I

Boehringer-Ingelheim will offer both drug substance and drug product services form its facility in Shanghai, China after adding fill & finish capabilities. German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim has added a new filling line at its commercial biomanufacturing facility in Shanghai, bolstering its third-party business, BioXcellence. “At our China facility the F&F [fill & finish] service complements the manufacturing service for drug substance at that site, meaning we can now offer drug substance and drug product out of one facility for our…

Still Space for Multiple Neulasta Biosimilars, says Pfenex

Pfenex has deprioritized its pegfilgrastim biosimilar program but is reevaluating the market after Mylan’s recent success in the US. In June, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Mylan’s Fulphilia on its second attempt. While Fulphilia has become the first biosimilar of Amgen’s cancer drug Neulasta (pegfilgrastim), there are several other firms looking to tap the market, including Coherus and Novartis subsidiary Sandoz. Clinical-stage development and licensing biotech Pfenex too has a pegfilgrastim biosimilar in its pipeline, PF529, but announced…

Brexit and Tax Rates Stoking Ireland’s Biopharma Sector

With the UK leaving the European Union and the US cutting its corporate tax rates, the changing business landscape holds both opportunities and challenges for Ireland’s life sciences sector. For decades, Ireland has cemented itself as a major pharma and biopharma manufacturing hub, spurred by low corporate tax rates, and a highly skilled workforce. Its language, proximity to Europe and its membership of the common market have also boosted multinational investment. On the other side of the Irish Sea, the…

Therapy First, Efficiency Second: Why We Should Stop Focusing on Manufacturing Costs

Drug substance manufacturing only contributes around 5% on average to the total cost of a biologic says GE Healthcare’s Guenter Jagschies. Payors, patients and governments are increasingly looking to industry to justify the high prices of prescription drugs. As new immuno-oncology treatments are being launched with increasingly higher price tags and often the cost of producing these complex biotherapeutics. “This industry is not pricing based on cost, it is pricing based on perceived value,” Guenter Jagschies, senior director of strategic…

Hyperstack Shortage Caused by Gene Therapy Surge

The adoption of viral vector technology in cell and gene therapy has led to six month waiting lists for multilayer culture vessels. Hyperstack vendor Corning says it will more than double its manufacturing capacity to deal with the demand. Despite being a registered brand owned by Corning Life Sciences, ‘hyperstack’ has become a common term to describe multilayer, scalable, and single-use culture flasks. They are used to produce viral vectors and gene therapies, and are in huge demand, according to…