Dendreon scrambles to boost Provenge production

Dendreon is ramping up production of its brand-new prostate cancer vaccine Provenge--but not nearly fast enough. The supply will fall far short of demand for at least the next 12 months. Only two percent of eligible patients will be able to get treatment.

Now, the company is producing the first doses at a plant in New Jersey, but that facility won't get to full capacity till early next year. At that point, the supply is expected to quadruple, Dendreon COO Hans Bishop told Bloomberg.

By the end of next year, the company plans to bring two additional plants up to speed, one in Atlanta and another in Los Angeles. As Portfolio reminds us, the company raised $400 million last year to build the manufacturing capacity it would need if Provenge won regulatory approval.

"It's an unfortunate reality that there is not enough manufacturing capacity, but it's a difficult process," Kris Jenner, a portfolio manager at Dendreon investor T. Rowe Price Group told the news service. "Hopefully after we exit 2011, the availability will become much better."

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