Peregrine's Avid Bioservices unit wraps California biologics expansion

Completing a project started 15 months ago, Peregrine Pharmaceuticals commissioned a plant in California this week that more than doubles the company's biologics manufacturing capacity and adds the potential for $40 million in new yearly revenue.

The 40,000-square-foot facility, located adjacent to the company's Tustin, CA, headquarters, incorporates single-use equipment for disposable biomanufacturing up to the 2,000-liter scale. It's set up to produce Phase III clinical candidates and commercial biologics. While the drugmaker has not publicly stated the cost of the project, according to a public filing last fall it has budgeted $18.6 million for construction in progress.

Peregrine's ($PPHM) Avid Bioservices unit, which will operate the plant, started on the expansion back in December 2014 in response to strong demand for biologics manufacturing.

"We have already had a tremendous response to the new facility and look forward to continuing to grow our biomanufacturing business which is an integral part of our overall business strategy," Peregrine CEO Steven King said in a statement.

Peregrine CEO Steven King

The company currently gets the vast majority of its revenue from contract manufacturing, with King saying in a press release that it expects $35 million to $40 million from the business this fiscal year ending April 30. The company saw 20% growth in contract manufacturing last fiscal year to $26.7 million.

Beyond contract manufacturing, Peregrine is working to advance its pipeline of monoclonal antibodies designed to spark an immune response against cancer. The company's lead candidate, bavituximab, is in Phase III testing in combination with Sanofi's ($SNY) Taxotere in previously treated non-small cell lung cancer. The therapy is slated for multiple planned trials and is also in clinical testing for metastatic HER2-negative breast cancer and rectal adenocarcinoma.

Last August, Peregrine signed on with AstraZeneca ($AZN) to test bavituximab in combination with the U.K. pharma's durvalumab in a Phase I/Ib trial in multiple solid tumors.

- here's the release
- and Peregrine's 10-Q filing