PharmaCell seeks more biomanufacturing contracts for new plant

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Knee cartilage cells are key to cell therapy product PharmaCell will be making for TiGenx
Knee cartilage cells are key to cell therapy product PharmaCell will be making for TiGenx

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European Provenge contractor PharmaCell BV is looking for new business after completing the acquisition of TiGenix’s biomanufacturing facility in the Netherlands.

The Dutch biomanufacturing firm announced plans to buy the Sittard-Geleen plant in January​, citing both the contract to make TiGenx’s cell-based cartilage repair product ChondroCelect and the need for extra capacity as the drivers for the €5.7m ($4.1m) deal.

Company spokesman Soenke Brunswieck said that the acqusition has completed and told that the firm will be taking on all staff employed at the facility by TiGenix.

He explained that the newly acquired plant will provide capacity for trial and commercial-scale manufacturing adding that “The site has been fully operational since early 2013… and we are open for production contracts.”

PharmaCell will continue to operate its Maastricht facility, which offers non-GMP process development and GMP-production capacity for early- to mid-stage clinical trials in cell therapy.

Brunswieck declined to comment when asked if the firm will produce Dendreon’s prostate cancer therapy, Provenge, as the Sittard-Geleen facility.

ChondroCelect contract

Divestiture of the facility has provided “an immediate cash inflow of €3.5m to TiGenix and a reduction in annual operating costs for manufacturing, sales and marketing of at least €5m​” according to the Belgian cell therapy firm’s CEO, Eduardo Bravo.

Completion of the deal follows just a few months after TiGenix licensed marketing and distribution rights for ChondroCelect to Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (SOBI), which will take over sales of the product in Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain which are the only markets in which it is currently available.

Also under the deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, Sobi will sell the cartilage repair product in the rest of the European Union (EU), Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, Russia, the Middle East and North America.

Brunswieck confirmed that: "We are manufacturing the ChondroCelect for TiGenix and SOBI is marketing ChondroCelect for Tigenix​" adding that the product "will be manufactured in Geleen​."

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