The plant in Martillac, France will provide process development services, biomanufacturing for mammalian proteins for preclinical research to clinical phase II and tech transfer support to enable customers to switch production for late-stage clinical work and commercial manufacturing.
The idea is that customers attracted by the combined development and manufacturing services will want to work with Merck Millipore later on in the process as company VP of services and solutions Christophe Couturier explained to Outsourcing-pharma.com.
“Our goal is to help clients develop and manufacture their drug candidate so they can get to the clinical phase faster. We hope after the success of the client's drug candidate, and based on our successful relationship, that they would also ask us to help them with their production capabilities.”
Couturier added that although the plant - which has capacity to run 10 to 12 projects in parallel and has a workforce of 95 employees – will compete with contract manufacturing organisations (CMO) the combined process development and production offering bring something different to the market.
“We are certainly playing in the same space [as CMOs] but are offering a different option to the client. We are providing a unique service to clients by offering them early access to the latest manufacturing technologies.
“And while we develop the process, the client will own the process and be able to transfer manufacturing to a location of their choice. This "open source" platform does not lock clients into a proprietary process but rather it gives them flexible options for late phase and production scale manufacturing.”
Outsourcing-pharma.com asked if – given the ‘open source’ model – any CMOs to which the processing lines and technologies are transferred for later stage production will be allowed to offer them more widely and Couturier’s response was positive.
“As a supplier of technology and systems to the industry, CMOs are our customers as well and we will continue to support them. Our goal is to help get drugs to the market faster. In that pursuit, we will continue to invest and provide new technologies to the market.
“Martillac offers state-of-the-art process development and manufacturing techniques which we hope will be widely adopted by the industry.”