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Contract manufacturing news round-up

By Natalie Morrison+

05-Sep-2012

Outsourcing-Pharma.com presents a round-up of the latest from the world of contract manufacturing, including extensive jobs cuts for Merck, a monoclonal antibody agreement for Cobra and Algeta and Aesica’s latest move into clinical trial production.

Merck says it will invest €250m into its global headquarters in Darmstadt in a bid to turn it into a state-of-the-art production and research centre, which it says will “be able to meet the highest competitive demands.”

The news comes as the firm this week announced plans to cut more than 1,100 jobs from its German operations over the next six years. The firm – which runs some contract manufacturing operations from its KGaA hub in Germany – says the “efficiency measures” will span all of its businesses and functions.

When Outsourcing-Pharma.com asked the company exactly how much the cuts would affect its contract manufacturing business, and which areas would be worst hit, Merck declined to comment.

The firm did insist, however, that despite the sizeable loss of staff it will not look to providers to fill the gap. Employee representative Heiner Wilhelm supported the claim.

Cobra Biologics has struck a deal to produce monoclonal antibodies for Algeta’s latest targeted drug delivery program.

Algeta’s series of studies will focus on the development of a monoclonal antibody that is particularly attracted to the surface of haematological cancer cells.

Cobra will provide the antibodies – to be linked with Algeta’s alpha particle emitter thorium 227 (Th-227) – through its maxXpress production and testing service.

Peter Coleman, CEO of Cobra, said: “Algeta’s contract forms part of a very successful year where we are seeing significant expansion in our antibody contract manufacturing as customers see the advantages Cobra’s comprehensive services provide."

Aesica has made a partnership with the University of Bradford, UK, under which the firm will make clinical supplies at the institution’s Centre for Pharmaceutical Engineering Science. 

Under the agreement, Aesica will gain access to the centre’s development tech whilst the university will have access to the firm’s manufacturing capabilities within the facility, which will include hot metal extrusion.

Paul Titley, managing director of formulation development at Aesica, said we should expect more similar partnerships with early phase developers. He said: “We provide good manufacturing practice (GMP) contract manufacturing services to six other universities, but this partnership is particularly important and unique as it is mutually beneficial. 

“By working with such organisations at an early stage we would hope to cement long term development and manufacturing partnerships and expedite the leap from concept to commercialisation with a clear and proven route to market.”

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