Takeda starts work on €40M plant to produce multiple myeloma drug Ninlaro

red blood cells
Takeda starts work this month on the €40 million plant it is building to produce new blood cancer drug and potential blockbuster Ninlaro and said it should be ready to ship product next year.

Japanese drugmaker Takeda has started work on a new plant to produce its oral multiple myeloma drug Ninlaro, a first-to-market active proteasome inhibitor, and expects the facility will be ready to ship the potential blockbuster next year or in early 2019.  

The company says construction begins this month on the €40 million ($42.8 million) facility at its Grange Castle site in Dublin to manufacture Ninlaro. The plant is slated to be completed in the second quarter of 2018 and be operational to ship secondary packaged product in the second half of fiscal 2018, which ends on March 31, 2018.

Ireland development authorities boasted in December that Takeda was expanding in the country, but the drugmaker is now offering up more details on the project. It said the 5,672-square-meter (61,053-square-foot) production facility will will house the API, formulation, primary and secondary packaging and quality-control processes. The company will add 40 jobs at the site as a result of the expansion.

The blood cancer cancer drug was approved in the U.S. in 2015 and recently won backing from the European Medicines Agency as well as approval in Japan. In December, Weber told investors that Ninlaro was picking up momentum faster than expected in the U.S. In just a few months after launch, he said one in five new patients receiving second-line treatment for the disease were prescribed the drug. That is the highest market share for any new multiple myeloma therapy, he said.

After a rough several years, Takeda is seeing forward progress. In April, the FDA approved its cancer drug Alunbrig as a second-line treatment for ALK-positive, non-small cell lung cancer. Takeda acquired the drug in its $5.2 billion buyout of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech Ariad, which closed just two months before the approval.