More ADC manufacturing capacity coming online

Targeted drugs are becoming the focus of a growing number of companies, and manufacturers are responding by building more antibody drug conjugate (ADC) manufacturing capacity.

Swiss ingredient maker Lonza earlier this month said it would double ADC capacity at its plant in Visp, Switzerland, and now Dutch drugmaker Synthon says it has opened an ADC manufacturing facility to serve its own needs and its partnerships. Those are on top of two projects announced last year, one by Novasep and another by Fujifilm.

As Synthon points out, ADCs are a new type of targeted therapy that combines a specific anti-cancer antibody or antibody fragment linked to a potent anti-cancer therapeutic. The concept is to create cancer drugs that will do a better job of penetrating tumors while resulting in fewer side effects for patients. Roche's ($RHHBY) blockbuster drug Herceptin is perhaps the best-known drug in this category. The Dutch company is also working on an ADC that focuses on tumors that overexpress HER2 like Herceptin does

Among other features of its new plant in Nijmegen, Netherlands, Synthon spokesman Sabienne Douven tells in-PharmaTechnologist that it has a flexible design that permits multiple unit operations at multiple scales and in-house manufacturing of both the ADC and the linker drug.

Lonza is investing about $15 million to expand its ADC manufacturing capacity in Visp. The company said it expects to complete the work by the second quarter of 2014 and can do it without interfering with its current operations. "We have witnessed significant growth in the ADC market in the past 24 months and this investment is necessary to continue to support the growing product demands from our customers," said Stefan Stoffel, who leads Lonza's Chemical Manufacturing business, in a release.

Fujifilm last year signed up Piramal to develop and manufacture ADCs, saying Piramal's experience helping get ADCs on the market made it an ideal partner. And CMO Novasep said it would put €3 million ($3.7 million) into ADC manufacturing at its Le Mans, France, facility because the market has exploded over the past few years.

- here's the Lonza release
- read the in-PharmaTechnologist story