The Ukima site currently has two 2,500 L tanks and four 2,000 L tanks for the production of antibody API, but a JPY 37.2bn ($310m) investment will see the firm – a Japan-based subsidiary of Swiss Pharma Giant Hoffmann–La Roche – add six 6,000L bioreactors, pushing total capacity to 49,000L.
The reactors will be installed from January 2016 and completed in July 2018, and the expansion is to be used for the commercial manufacture of Chugai’s antibody pipeline.
“Chugai currently has several antibody projects under clinical development applying its proprietary innovative antibody engineering technologies,” said Hitoshi Kuboniwa, General Manager of Chugai’s Pharmaceutical Technology Division.
“We are also actively conducting drug discovery research for antibody drugs at our domestic laboratories and Chugai Pharmabody Research, and have several drug candidates close to the clinical phase. In order for us to promptly conduct simultaneous clinical development for these projects, we need to accommodate high-mix low-volume production of multiple investigational drugs.”
On top of the Ukima Site, Chugai also has mammalian cell culture capabilities at Utsunomiya in the northern Kantō region. The site has eight 10,000L stainless steel bioreactors and is the largest biologics production facility in Japan.