Spanning both drug substance and drug product work, Novartis said the multi-year investment is aimed at creating seamless manufacturing environments by embedding biologics development within existing facilities in Slovenia and Austria and in Switzerland.
The company said its early-stage biologics portfolio has grown significantly in the last 15 years, expanding beyond conventional monoclonal antibodies into antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and therapeutic proteins.
The idea now is to foster scientific innovation, technology leadership and talent attraction, with the goal of enhancing the development processes, targeting faster transition times from pre-clinical to first in human studies, said Novartis.
“Across the industry, biotherapeutics account for almost one-half of all recent new drug approvals and have enormous potential to address unmet need across a wide range of diseases,” said Reto Fischer, head of technical research division, Global Drug Development (GDD), Novartis. “We are building the scientific environment necessary to bring these complex biologic compounds from the bench through development in an integrated, seamless, and rapid fashion."
Increased speed and flexibility
A spokesperson for Novartis said the investment will result in:
- The strengthening the Novartis Campus Basel by investing US$100m to establish a biologics presence to complement the established NIBR Biologics center. It will foster close collaboration to create and develop new modalities that tackle complex biology and enable the production of quality biotherapeutics, while promoting innovative research, technology leadership and global talent attraction at the emerging Basel life sciences hub.
- The creation of a ‘BioCampus’ in Mengeš, Slovenia with an investment US$110m in clinical manufacturing and technical capabilities, enabling increased speed and flexibility in early development. The new BioCampus will make the Mengeš site the largest industrial center for modern biotechnology in Slovenia.
- An investment of US$60m in technical manufacturing capacity and capabilities at the Schaftenau campus in Austria. "Co-locating new pilot scale High Density Perfused Batch (HDPB) capabilities with the recently established NTO Plant 1 in Schaftenau, will further underline it as the largest and most innovative site for the production of biopharmaceuticals in Austria."