Expansion of allergen material facility

By Katrina Megget

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Asthma

Biopol Laboratory is acting to meet the demand of sneezes, itchy
eyes and running noses as it consolidates its five allergen
production facilities into one main building in Idaho.

An initial investment of $30m will be injected into construction on the 12.5 acre site in Riverbend Commerce Park, Post Falls, which will become the world's largest production site, and Biopol parent company ALK-Abello's main source, of allergen raw material for allergy immunotherapy products.

The move to condense the production capabilities follows last year's approval and launch of ALK-Abello's Grazax (Phleum pratense), a tablet-based immunotherapy against grass pollen, which is anticipated to be popular, with the demand for the allergen raw material expected to increase significantly over the next few years.

"The Post Falls facility offers the additional space and increased capacity to enable us to continue to provide an uninterrupted supply of quality allergenic biological source materials," Biopol president and managing director Miles Guralnick said in a statement.

The first phase of construction will be approximately 68,00sq ft. and will cover ALK-Abello's raw material needs for its immunotherapy tablets for grass and house dust mite allergies as well as some of the existing subcutaneous and sublingual immunotherapy products for the US and EU markets.

A second phase will produce raw material for tablet immunotherapy for ragweed pollen allergy, which is currently in early clinical development.

Presently, Biopol has five facilities in and around Spokane, Washington, which includes, a laboratory, offices, manufacturing facilities and associated in-process and finished product warehouses.

The company also controls a 600 acre farm in Plummer, Idaho, where it grows a variety of grasses and other plants to produce pollens used as raw materials for allergy immunotherapy products.

The new facility is expected to be in operation in 2009.

The aim of specific allergy vaccination or immunotherapy is the generation of a protective immune response in the recipient, which will reduce or abolish allergic reactions.

Grazax is a once-daily, immunotherapy that dissolves under the tongue and could remove patients' reliance on current intravenous therapies, antihistamines and nasal steroids.

It aims to address the underlying cause of grass pollen allergy.

The world hay fever (allergic rhinitis) market was recently valued at over $8bn by Visiongain, in a report entitled The World Allergy Market 2006-2011.

The current market leading treatment is Pfizer's Zyrtec (cetirizine HCl) antihistamine, with global sales of $1.5bn in the year to June 2006.

Intravenous immunotherapies currently account for less than three per cent of the market due to the unpleasant nature of repeated injections.

Biopol cultivates, propagates, harvests, and procures natural allergen materials used to produce its 800 allergen source material products, which includes pollens, mites, molds, epithelia, foods and insects.

ALK-Abello acquired Biopol in 1999.

Biopol was unavailable for comment at time of publishing.

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