Brazil to benefit from $19m biopharma deal

By Anna Lewcock

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags License Pharmacology Biotechnology Prometic

A Brazilian firm has signed a licensing deal to take advantage of a
biopharmaceutical manufacturing technology which will allow the
company to locally manufacture complex biopharmaceuticals destined
for the South American market.

Tecpar has inked a technology transfer and licensing agreement to apply Canadian firm ProMetic's proprietary manufacturing technology in a deal worth $19m (€14.3m).

ProMetic will manage the development of the manufacturing process, which is based on mammalian cell culture technology for the production of complex therapeutic proteins (which the company has licensed from the Biotechnology Research Institute in Canada) along with the firm's down-stream bioseparation process, mimetic ligand affinity chromatography.

ProMetic has granted Tecpar an exclusive licence to use the technology for a particular biopharmaceutical product for the entire South American market, with the production of the first drug alone anticipated to generate $50m for the Brazilian government which currently imports the drug.

ProMetic's mimetic ligand technology is used for large scale purification of biologics and removal of pathogens.

The affinity chromatography technology relies on the ability of proteins to recognise and bind to other molecules (ligands) in a specific (and reversible) way.

The company has synthetically 'mimicked' and enhanced the natural molecular affinity of binding ligands to produce molecules that are highly specific and selective in binding proteins.

The synthetic molecules can therefore be used to purify a target protein by binding it out of a mixture, or using the same process to target and remove a contaminant.

According to the company, its mimetic ligand products are particularly cost beneficial, being around 50 - 75 per cent less cheaper than competing technologies.

The technology can also produce ligands for a variety of processes and can be custom designed for specific purposes, even when detailed information on the target protein is lacking.

Common purification targets using ProMetic's technology include albumin, proteases, kinases, cytokines and antibodies, and the firm's client list includes GlaxoSmithKline, Novo Nordisk and the Menarini Group among others.

$19m has been set aside for the ProMetic/Tecpar project to take the companies through to 2009.

$10m of this has been allocated to update and modify Tecpar's current manufacturing facility with dedicated equipment and to adapt validation processes.

The remaining $9m will go to ProMetic for license, milestone and development payments.

The technology transfer agreement is set to inject some life into the emerging Brazilian and South American markets, helping the area become independent in the production of complex biopharmaceuticals, and according to the companies helping to establish a centre of excellence from which higher quality biopharmaceuticals can be produced at better prices.

"ProMetic's…most common relationship is with established pharmaceutical and biotech companies," Pierre Laurin, ProMetic CEO told

"But we have been increasingly interested in providing this enabling technology to serious institutions in emerging markets who are looking to become self-sufficient with regards to high-value complex pharmaceuticals."

Another Canadian firm, Validpro, will be responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance within the partnership, and has experience advising firms within the pharma industry on achieving total compliance towards European, American and Canadian regulations.

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