Biocon Biopharmaceuticals' new biologics facility

Biocon Biopharmaceuticals biologics new facility has become operational. The facility is, India's largest multi-product biologics facility and is located at Bangalore's Biocon Park at Bommasandra Industrial Area, Phase IV.

Biocon Biopharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd (BBPL) was launched in collaboration with CIMAB, representing the Centre of Molecular Immunology, Cuba. The state-of-the-art cGMP-compliant facility is designed to manufacture a broad range of novel and bio-similar therapeutic products through large scale cell-culture fermentation for the treatment of cancer, auto-immune and metabolic diseases.

The facility is also designed to cater to contract manufacturing needs of international Bio-pharmaceutical companies. The company's multi-disciplinary technological capabilities and growing expertise in clinical development has enabled rapid advances in the field of protein therapeutics, and such novel biotechnology products are expected to provide quantum growth drivers for the future.

According to Dr Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairman and managing director, "Biological drugs are increasingly gaining market share in the pharmaceutical sector."

The 120,000 sq ft building, spread over three floors, comprises process, laboratory and technical support areas and is regarded as a significant advancement in terms of technical sophistication over the company's existing facilities and comprises three distinct modules.

Biocon is the maker of BioMab EGFR, a novel monoclonal antibody for the treatment of solid tumours of epithelial origin such as head and neck cancer, which has been engineered to specifically target and block the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) responsible for the proliferation of cancer cells.

"Monoclonals represent a new class of drugs called immunotherapeutics that are effectively addressing unmet medical needs especially in oncology and auto-immune diseases," says Shaw. "Biocon Biopharmaceuticals' immunotherapeutic portfolio is a comprehensive approach targeting both receptors (EGFR & HER1) and proliferation factors (EGF & TGF) aimed at complete remission and possible cure," she says.

This product will spearhead Biocon Biopharmaceuticals' foray into proprietary products for cancer therapy. It is estimated that the incidence of new cancer cases in India is about 700,000 annually, of which nearly 230,000 are tobacco-related and occur in the head and neck region.

Monoclonal antibodies are emerging as the fastest-growing segment especially in oncology and auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, lupus, etc. About 18 monoclonal antibodies have so far been approved globally for therapeutic use, and between them have a current market size of $15 billion, which is expected to double by 2010.