Aurobindo adds to manufacturing with biosimilars plant

India’s Aurobindo Pharma has acquired four biosimilar products from a Swiss company and says it is building a manufacturing plant to support the production of those and eight others it has under development.

The Indian company reported last week that it has acquired the biosimilars from Visp-based TL Biopharmaceutical. Details on the deal were scarce, but it said they include three oncology monoclonal antibodies, including bevacizumab, a biosimilar of Roche’s cancer drug Avastin.

Terms of the deal were not divulged, but about 14 months ago a report in Livemint said that Aurobindo was negotiating a $200 million deal with an EU company for the rights to bevacizumab, as well as biosimolars of Roche's breast cancer treatment Herceptin, Johnson & Johnson's autoimmune blockbuster Remicade, and Amgen's rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel.

It said in the announcement that it would expand the four products picked up from TL with “eight more next wave of biosimilars.”

The Indian company said in its announcement that it was building a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Hyderabad, Telangana, for manufacturing all of the drugs. It expects the plant to be complete in the second quarter of fiscal 2018, which would mean sometime in the second half of this calendar year.

The news comes just a week after Aurobindo indicated it would build a second sterile injectables plant on a site in New Jersey, partly in response to tax talk from President Trump.

"With the current landscape of what's happening with the U.S. White House administration, and some of the things that may change there, clearly, we don't think having capacity in the U.S. would be detrimental at this point," Bob Cunard, head of Aurobindo’s U.S. operations, said in an earnings briefing, Reuters reported.

The drugmaker began work in August on a 567,000-square-foot facility in New Jersey that is slated to include a manufacturing and distribution center and warehouse that will eventually employ 400 to 500.