From DCAT Week: Porton Pharma Solutions Expanding Drug-Substance and Drug-Product Capacity 

Oliver Ju,
Chairman and CEO
Porton Pharma

Porton Pharma Solutions, a CDMO of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and drug products, is heavily investing in its drug-substance and drug-product research and manufacturing capacities. This includes expansions to current sites, commissioning of new sites, as well as developing new capabilities in key specialty areas. Porton Pharma’s Chairman & CEO, Oliver Ju, highlighted the expansions at the DCAT Member Company Announcement Forum held on March 20th, 2023, at DCAT Week.  

Porton has historically had a strong foothold in China where the company was founded, and has developed a stronger presence in the United States and Europe over the last several years. One of the company’s major expansions stems from a strategic acquisition of the US-based CRO, J-Star Research, in 2017. The current expansion focuses on extending tailored drug-product development services in the US. With over 70,000 square feet of lab space, the $65-million new facility will sit adjacent to the current J-Star Research facility in Cranbury, New Jersey. Services will include a center for formulation development and crystallization R&D as well as integration of drug-substance and drug-product development teams within the company.  

Additionally, Porton will be building out a facility in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in an effort to serve customers in Europe more locally. Porton PharmaTech d.o.o, as the site will be known, will be a multi-phase project aimed at expanding drug-substance development capabilities within the company at various scales. The focus of this facility will be on process development, as well as manufacturing of key APIs, regulatory starting materials, and drug-substance intermediates. With an overall planned investment of $110 million, this is one of Porton’s largest expansions in Europe to date, and it is expected to be fully completed and commissioned by 2026. However, various capabilities will be opened to customers as the facility gets built out and teams are assembled to complete projects on an ongoing basis. 

Expansions of digital capabilities are also a key component of Porton’s strategic growth plan, with the company having the aim to improve customer experience and efficiency across the customer value chain in the US and European Union. Elements such as artificial intelligence-guided process development, digitally automated laboratories, high-throughput screening, process transparency, and digital project performance management are a few examples of what Porton’s “smart facility” can do. 

As well as expanding facilities, Porton Pharma plans on building its platforms for various kinds of molecules, with tailored services based on the needs of the molecule type and manufacturing process. For example, in synthetic macromolecules, a key focus area will be the development and manufacturing of peptides, oligonucleotides, and other specialty molecules. The biologics space is also growing within Porton, and the company plans on investing in the development and manufacturing of antibody drug conjugates, a hybrid molecular entity that encompasses both a small molecule and a monoclonal antibody, as well as a linker component that joins the two. Work in this area will start off at the company’s facilities in China with further extension into the US and Europe.