Another day, another ADC investment: SAFC adds commercial-scale capacity

Another day, another ADC investment: SAFC adds ADC capacity

US contractor SAFC has joined the growing list of drugmakers and CMOs to invest in ADCs by announcing plans to add commercial-scale production capacity.

The US firm announced plans to expand its manufacturing site in St Lois, US to include "segregated areas for high-potent solids handling, manufacturing and aseptic bulk filling of product" in a project expected to complete in mid-2015.

SAFC – which is also ramping up capacity at its highly potent active pharmaceutical ingredient production (API) facility in Verona – invested in antibody drug conjugates (ADC) as a result of customer demand according to president, Gilles Cottier.

Bringing commercial-scale ADC capacity to St. Louis and augmenting the offer at Verona to feature expanded HPAPI manufacturing and storage capabilities are direct reflections of SAFC’s commitment to investing in support of our customers.”

SAFC’s investment comes just a day after Swiss drugmakers Roche and Novartis moved to strengthen their respective positions in the ADC market, the former by setting up a new production plant and the latter through a tech licensing deal.

Similarly, earlier today AstraZeneca’s Medimmune division announced that its acquisition of Spirogen was motivated by the desire to add that firm’s ADC technology and knowhow to its in-house capabilities.

Contract ADCs

SAFC’s peers in the contract manufacturing sector also see potential in ADC judging by the flurry of recent investments.

Lonza, for example, has just finished ramping up ADC capacity at its Visp facility in Switzerland, Piramal has repeatedly increased its capabilities in Grangemouth, Scotland and Novasep invested in dedicated production space at its plant in Le Mans, France last year.

New Jersey, US –based contract manufacturing organisation (CMO) Catalent also recently entered the ADC sector by licensing a development technology from Redwood Bioscience.

More recently Carbogen Amcis said it would add production capacity for the antibody-small molecule hybrid drugs at its facility in Bubendorf, Switzerland citing growing customer demand.

Tech advances

Further evidence of the service sectors' increasing interest in ADC emerged in a recently completed industry survey. The study - part of a larger body of research due to presented at CPhI in Frankfurt next week – included some comment about ADCs by Piramal COO Vijay Shah who said technology advances were a key driver of the market.

“In the past a major failing with ADCs has been that cytotoxic agents were simply not active enough to kill the target cell with such a small amount of payload - o.o1% - however new technologies that improve antibody and antigen conjugation could hold the key to really unlocking their potential. Over the next 10 years we will see ADCs with much higher penetration rates.”

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