Alvotech's $250m Icelandic plant will use disposable tech for mAb biosimilars

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Alvotech 'exploding' into biosimilars with $250m Iceland plant
Alvotech 'exploding' into biosimilars with $250m Iceland plant

Related tags: Europe

Alvogen has branched into biomanufacturing with plans to build a $250m (€182m) facility in Iceland to produce biosimilar monoclonal antibodies. 

The generic drugmaker has set up Alvotech in a bid to take advantage of market opportunities presented by antibodies coming off patent and the increasing interest in biosimilar drugs. The new organisation will be based at a purpose built facility being constructed in the science park of the University of Iceland, in Reykjavik.

The first monoclonal antibody biosimilar was approved in Europe earlier this year​ and in preparation for this venture the firm has already secured key monoclonal antibodies in development which are going off patent from 2018, Alvotech CEO Andreas Herrmann told Biopharma-Reporter.com.

“While currently available biosimilars were taken up in Western Europe slowly, they were taken up very rapidly by East Europe and emerging markets,”​ he told us.

Greater confidence in these drugs, cost pressures within the health care markets and the loss of exclusivity for a number of big products will, he continued, lead to the next generation of biosimilars being taken up much faster worldwide.

The plant itself is set to be operational in early 2016 and will create around 180 jobs. Technology wise, Herrmann told us, it will house twelve 1,000L disposable bioreactors, as well as fill-finish capabilities for syringes and vials.

Partnering

Alvogen already has some experience in biosimilars, being in partnership with Hospira and selling across the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region for the past few years.

“The creation of Alvotech further strengthens our capabilities as Alvogen will distribute Alvotech products in its markets,” Herrmann said.

However, he added, this would not restrict Alvotech’s business as the firm intends to work with partners other than its parent company including contract manufacturers and firms to whom it could outlicense its portfolio.

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