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Provenge CMO PharmaCell contracted for 2nd product

By Gareth MacDonald+

24-Jan-2014
Last updated the 24-Jan-2014 at 13:59 GMT

Dendreon's European Provenge CMO to add capacity with plant acqusition
Dendreon's European Provenge CMO to add capacity with plant acqusition

PharmaCell, the CMO that makes Provenge for Dendreon in Europe, has agreed to buy a facility from TiGenix to add capacity and a manufacturing contract for a second commercial product.

The €5.7m ($4.1m) deal will add TiGenix’s cell therapy facility in Sittard-Geleen in the Netherlands to PharmaCell’s existing manufacturing infrastructure the majority of which is based at a site in the neighbouring city, Maastricht.

PharmaCell spokesman Soenke Brunswick told BioPharma-Reporter.com the acquisition will provide Pharmacell with both manufacturing capacity and a second commercial manufacturing contract – for TiGenix’s cartilage repair product ChondroCelect.

He declined to say which specific manufacturing capabilities and technology are in place at the TiGenix plant, but did say that all 12 staff currently employed there will be joining PharmaCell.

Provenge potential?

PharmaCell has been making Dendreon’s Provenge – a prostate cancer cell therapy that consists of a signalling protein attached to white blood cells harvested from the patient – since October last year .

The outsourcing Dendreon follows in Europe differs from the approach it takes in the US where, after Provenge was approved in 2010, the Seattle firm opted to make the cell therapy itself at facilities in Morris Plains, New Jersey, Seal Beach, California and Union City, Georgia.

Since then Dendreon has sold its facility in Morris Plains to Novartis , citing lower than expected sales and cost cutting as the main drivers for the divestiture.

But PharmaCell’s acquisition of the new plant does not indicate that demand for Provenge - previously the only commercail product the CMO made - has started to increase.

In November late year , Dendreon announced plans to cut 150 jobs to try and reduce costs amid – unconfirmed rumours – the firm whose only product is Provenge was seeking a buyer.

And earlier this week Dendreon's share price dropped nearly 10% according to the Motley Fool .

Cost reduction

TiGenix will earn an upfront payment of €3.5m for the facility and €750,000 when the deal completes, which is expected to happen in the next six months.

In a press statement TiGenix said the plant divestiture reduces “organizational complexity and eliminates an important part of our fixed costs while keeping intact the continuity of our product supply."

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