Microbial systems, fill/finish or vaccines? Avid eyeing up bolt-on services

By Dan Stanton contact

- Last updated on GMT

GettyImages/cacaroot
GettyImages/cacaroot

Related tags: Cell culture, Dna, Manufacturing

Avid Bioservices says it is looking to expand its biomanufacturing offering as it transitions into a pure-play CDMO from Peregrine Pharmaceuticals.

For the second quarter of FY 2018, contract manufacturing revenue from Avid Bioservice's clinical and commercial biomanufacturing services was $12.8m (€10.9m), down 45% on the same period last year.

This was due to a decrease in demand from the contract development and manufacturing organisation’s (CDMO) two largest customers, and while this was in line with guidance, Avid’s president Roger Lias said it high-lighted the “urgent need to access new growth opportunities”​ through client diversification and broadening of services.

Last month​, Peregrine Pharmaceuticals confirmed it is offloading its pipeline and becoming a pure-play CDMO under the name Avid Bioservices.

Additional biomanufacturing services

Speaking during an earnings call on Monday, Lias - who was recently hired to head up the restructured company - said that while the firm is focused on producing antibodies and recombinant proteins from mammalian cell culture, it will assess a number of additional biomanufacturing service offerings to help drive growth.

“Opportunities exist to manufacture other biologics derived from microbial expression systems, and advances in gene, cellular and immunotherapies, antibody drug conjugates and multi-specific antibody products feed a growing demand for manufacture of newer classes of products, including viral vectors and vaccines, which are quite similar but distinct manufacturing processes to those currently offered at Avid,”​ he told investors.

“While incorporating such offerings into the business will undoubtedly deliver technical and regulatory challenges they offer considerable growth opportunity, and they ultimately contribute to the transformation of Avid into a global and leading CDMO.”

Fill/finish in the short term?

Lias said the short term focus would be on “add-on adjunct services, perhaps in areas such as cell line development or analytical​,” though Avid’s current facilities in California offer a “tremendous opportunity to bring on new capacity within our existing infrastructure.”

Such an addition, he continued, will be “opportunistic with respect to other services” ​and fill/finish was cited as being relatively easily conceptualized as a bolt-on service.

Available space at the firm’s Myford production plant in Tustin, California, for example, is being considered for “additional vertically integrated, high-value manufacturing services, such as fill-and-finish drug product manufacture in support of customers' clinical requirements,” ​he said.

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