The privately-owned drugmaker has invested €17m to add cell line development and manufacturing capabilities at its laboratories in Biberach, Germany and in Vienna – where its proprietary Bi-HEX expression system is available to customers on a contractual basis.
BI claims the additional capacity and capabilities – coupled with its recently launched ‘lean to clinic’ programme – means it will be able to complete customers’ antibody development projects in as little as 13 months.
Dorothee Ambrosius, VP Biopharmaceuticals Global Process Science at Boehringer Ingelheim, said: "The expansion has been taylor-suited to fully meet our customer demands in cell culture and microbial process science, especially for our rapidly expanding pre-clinical project portfolio with biotech companies.”
BI’s contract monoclonal antibody has performed well of late. Just last month California, US-based biotech Xencor contracted the German firm to produce supplies of several of its candidate ‘biobetter’ MAbs that are due to move into clinical development.
The agreement – which also grants BI ‘certain manufacturing rights’ if development progresses – combines Xencor’s development expertise with BI’s production capabilities.
At the time Simon Sturge – senior VP of corporate development at BI – said: “[The deal] reflects one of our new business models in the contract manufacturing space in which both parties are enabled to focus on their core competencies.”
BI’s contracting business on the other side of the Atlantic has fared less well in recent months - most notably as a result of quality problems at its Ben Venue manufacturing unit which have resulted in widespread drug shortages.