Belgian drugmaker UCB is spending €250 million ($333 million) on a new manufacturing plant in Switzerland to make sure it can keep up with demand for its rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease drug Cimzia. The relatively new drug--it was approved in 2008--hit the ground running, and it's now on track to reach €1.5 billion ($1.99 billion) in sales by 2020, the company says.
Right now, UCB has a big chunk of Cimzia production farmed out to contract manufacturers such as Lonza, which has a six-year agreement to make the drug's active ingredient, InPharm reports. The new plant won't replace those contracts, but supplement them, EVP Michele Antonelli says in a statement. "We want to be able to meet our projected future demand ... by adding internal capacity to our existing capacities with our production partners," he adds.
Construction will take several years, with the new plant expected to come online in 2015. It's the latest project for UCB, which is already in the midst of building a plant in Belgium. That facility is scheduled to start operations next year. And it follows UCB's recent sell-off of several U.K. production facilities to contract manufacturer Aesica.
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