Takeda expands Ireland site to up production of cancer drug Ninlaro

Takeda is expanding API production for its new multiple myeloma drug with a new plant in Ireland. 

Japan’s Takeda, which expects its new multiple myeloma drug to be a big performer, is expanding API production for it with a new plant in Ireland. 

The company will invest €40 million ($42.8 million) in a new facility at its Grange Castle site in Dublin, primarily to manufacture Ninlaro, Business World reports. The cancer drug was approved in the U.S. last year and recently won backing from the European Medicines Agency.

The company will build a standalone high-containment production facility just for the drug; the expansion is expected to lead to the addition of 40 jobs at the site. 

Chief Executive Christophe Weber recently told investors that he expects Ninlaro to be Takeda's best-selling cancer drug, outperforming current blockbuster Velcade. It is performing better in the U.S. than had been expected, and after the EU's recent reversal of an earlier rejection, Takeda will possibly launch Ninlaro in the EU next year.

Ninlaro is the first orally active proteasome inhibitor to reach the market and is making headway against injectables such as Takeda's own market-leading Velcade and Amgen's currently underperforming Kyprolis (carfilzomib). It had sales of about $125 million in the first 6 months of the fiscal year, despite what Weber said is a "very limited" label claim. Ninlaro is approved only for use in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone in patients who have received at least one prior therapy.

This is the second significant manufacturing expansion announced by the Japanese company within a week. It is also investing €100 million ($106 million) to build a vaccine manufacturing site in Singen, Germany, as part of a big push into the development of a vax against dengue fever.