Abzena ups and integrates biomanufacturing and conjugation capabilities

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Chemical engineering Biotechnology

Abzena has negotiated the lease on a 50,000 square foot site in San Diego as part of a $17m remodelling of its bioproduction and conjugation facilities.

In April, biopharmaceutical manufacturing and technology provider Abzena announced it was investing $12m (€10m) to upgrade and expand its San Diego, California capabilities.

And according to CEO John Burt, the firm is set to sign a lease on a 50,000 square foot facility in San Diego which will bring together Abzena’s two biomanufacturing sites in Sorrento Valley and Torrey Pines, acquired in 2015​ from PacificGMP.

“The new building will consolidate our two San Diego operations, bring our process development and manufacturing together,”​ he told Biopharma-Reporter.

Already the firm has upgraded its biomanufacturing platform from wave-mixed to stirred-tank bioreactors, supplied by Sartorius, and a 500L GMP bioreactor is set be installed imminently. Abzena is planning to install a 2,000L single-use bioreactor in the new site but Burt said negotiations with potential suppliers are still under way.

He added the site is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2019.

Bioconjugation boost

Simultaneously, Abzena is investing $5m at its facility in Bristol, Pennsylvania – added in 2015​ through its acquisition of The Chemistry Research Solution – to create a GMP bioconjugation suite and additional process chemistry labs to support synthetic chemistry manufacturing.

Empty space in the building is being remodelled to provide capacity for antibody-drug conjugation (ADC) services, expected to be complete by the end of the first quarter 2018, Burt said.

Once the two sites are remodelled and operational, Abzena “will have capability for making [a customer’s] antibody in San Diego and bringing it to Bristol to produce the conjugated ADC,”​ he said. “Our partners can work with us all the way through to the clinical product.”

And yesterday the firm announced it had entered a Master Services Agreement with a US biotech firm looking to take advantage of these antibody-conjugation services.

While Burt did not disclose the client, he told us the deal is an example of customers drawing on Abzena’s integrated service offering across the firm’s various locations.

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