US biotech boosts production capacity

Related tags Genentech

US biotechnology company Genentech is planning to build a new
large-scale mammalian cell culture manufacturing facility in
California which will be the largest of its kind in the world.

The move shows that the biotechnology industry is still interested in building its own facilities, despite the recent expansion of biological production capacity among the contract biomanufacturing sector.

Genentech needs the capacity to fulfil the capacity requirements for the raft of new monoclonal antibodies it has brought through development since 1999, including Avastin (bevacizumab) for cancer, Raptiva (efalizumab) for spriasis and the asthma treatment Xolair (omalizumab).

The company says that its is expanding its site in Vacaville, California, where it already has a 427,000 square foot manufacturing site and strong relationships with local and state governments.

The new facility will be configured with eight 25,000-litre fermentation tanks in addition to the existing 140,000-litre facility. Construction is to begin imminently, with an estimated operational completion date in 2009 following validation and approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

When completed, the new facility will include three buildings comprising 380,000 square feet and employ 575 new staff - doubling the number of employees currently located at the Vacaville site.

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