The facility was closed in 2007 after the UK-based contract manufacturing organisation (CMO) decided to concentrate on its other plant in Edinburgh, which specialises in mammalian cells in culture, particularly stem cells.
At the time Angel told Outsourcing-pharma.com that: “The cost burden associated with that facility had become too large to support and, together with the delay in securing orders, had led to a decision to close the plant.”
However, this position changed in March when Angel unveiled plans to re-open the Cramlington facility, announcing that it has secured a fifteen year lease, with an option to break after five years, on the facility in Cramlington.
Under the new collaboration WHP will supply the engineering support and services required to refit and expand the plant to increase Angel's manufacturing capacity in a project scheduled to complete early in 2012.
Angel CEO Gordon Sherriff said WHP “has an excellent reputation and track record in the GMP biomanufacturing arena. Many of its [WHP’s] staff were involved in the initial design and build of the facility in 2005/6.”
He added that WHP was also involved in the decommissioning of the facility in 2007 and is hence well placed to help restart its manufacturing activities.
The news follows just a few weeks after Angel won a new contract to provide neuroscience drug developer ReNeuron with development and GMP manufacturing services in support of its development programme for its ReN001 stem cell therapy for stroke.
The work programme, which is expected to continue through to mid-2012; the value of the contract was not disclosed, will see Angel produce supplies of the candidate drug for the PISCES clinical trial.
The deal builds on the relationship the firms’ established in 2008 when ReNeuron contracted production of its key CTX stem cell line to the UK CMO. As yet it is unclear if the recommissioned Cramlington facility will be involved in the project.