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Catalent and Toyobo team up to launch GPEx in Japan

By Natalie Morrison , 21-Sep-2011

Catalent has struck up a deal with Toyobo Biologics to launch its cell line engineering technology on the Japanese market.

Under the agreement, Catalent will use the platform, known as GPEx, for the manufacturing of mammalian cells whilst Japanese company Toyobo will provide local clinical and commercial manufacturing capabilities.

And New Jersey, US, based Catalent hopes the new alliance will put them in the center of the Japanese mammalian cell culture market, which it says will explode in coming years.

The firm’s VP and general manager of development services Kent Payne told Outsourcing-Pharma: “The Japanese mammalian cell culture market for producing biologics is poised for significant growth over the next several years, and Catalent’s GPEx technology is uniquely suited to advantage our customers as they go from gene to the market.

And of building relations with customers locally he added: “Many of our Japanese customers prefer to manufacture in Japan, so Catalent and Toyobo see a great opportunity to go to market together in Japan.”

An equally enthusiastic spokesperson for Toyobo told 4-traders.com: “The market for antibody drugs as a treatment for cancer, rheumatism and other conditions has grown rapidly in recent years, exceeding three trillion yen globally.

“Since antibody drugs offer exceptional efficacy with few side effects, the market is expected to expand further.”

Why Toyobo?

Payne put the firm’s choice of Toyobo as a partner down in large part to their GMP bioreactor services from 100L to 4,000L scale – the largest in Japan.

He said: “Toyobo had already made significant investments to establish a state of the art facility offering world class GMP bioreactor services from 100L to 4,000L scale in Japan.

“Part of the attraction of this partnership is that the capabilities are already in place and available to our customers.”

Target audience

Under the new partnership, the companies have already initiated work for several clients.

And though the firms declined to name their clients, they confirmed that they will be targeting a broad range of customers.

Payne added: “Any company who has a recombinant protein or antibody they wish to express using any mammalian cell line is an ideal candidate.

“We work successfully with companies of all sizes; from large biotechs to small virtual start-ups.”

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