Novozymes says pharma won't drive growth and sets up albumin subsidiary

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Novozymes HQ in Denmark
Novozymes HQ in Denmark

Related tags Pharmacology

Novozymes has launched its albumin operations as a stand-alone subsidiary and reiterated that its pharma business is no longer a growth driver.

The Danish industrial biotechnology supplier launched the new subsidiary - Albumedix yesterday. It explained that the unit will make proteins used to stabilize and extend the half-lives of drugs and vaccines, including the Recombumin and Veltis products.

Albumedix – which is wholly owned by Novozymes - will employ 100 people at facilities in Denmark and Nottingham in the UK and will report to an independent board.

Thomas Videbaek, business development head at Novozymes, said the albumin business has “agreements with major pharmaceutical and biotech companies​” and is “in good shape with great prospects​.”

US drugmaker Merck & Co has used Novozymes’ albumin – known as Recombumin - to make vaccines since 2006​.

More recently​ Serendex Pharmaceutical began a Phase I clinical trial of an inhalable biopharmaceutical drug candidate for the treatment of lung disease that is stabilized with Recombumin.

Similarly, UK drugmaker GSK​ is using Veltis​ – previously known as Recombumin Flex​ - to increase the half-life of its recently approved diabetes treatment Eperzan (albiglutide).

No more pharma investment

Previously, the albumin business was part of Novozymes' Technical & Pharma division along with its hyaluronic acid unit, textile processing and wastewater processing operations.

According to financials​ released this week the division generated revenue of DKK982m ($144m), up from DKK830m in 2014.

During an accompanying earnings call Videbaek said growth had been driven by “enzymes for pharma and higher sales of albumin.

The firm declined to disclose any specifics when contacted by Biopharma-Reporter.com.

In addition to launching Albumedix, Novozymes also stated that “Pharma is no longer a strategic growth platform​” and will “not be a focus area for investments.”

This fits with Novozymes’ decision to shut down its hyaluronic acid business last October.

At the time the firm said the hyaluronic acid business – which targeted developers of topical drugs and medical devices – no longer warranted “continued investment​.”

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