Axis Biotec, PlantForm JV Plans New Biomanufactuing FacilityBy
PlantForm, an Ontario, Canada-based biopharmaceutical company, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil-based Axis Biotec Brasil, a holding company, through a joint venture, plan to construct a biopharmaceutical lab and pilot production facility in Rio de Janeiro that will support the development of biosimilar and biobetter protein drugs for the Brazilian market. The new laboratory and manufacturing facility, supported by funding from Brazilian Funding Agency for Studies and Projects (Finep), is expected to be completed by the end of 2017. In an initiative announced last year, Finep provided a $1-million grant to Silvestre Labs, part of the Axis Biotec Brasil group of companies.
The joint venture, called PlantPraxis, will first develop a biosimilar version of AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab) for treating rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory disorders. The new facility will be operational in 2018, focused initially on adalimumab with several additional biological targets in the pipeline.
PlantForm’s Brazilian arm, PlantForm do Brasil, launched the joint venture with PharmaPraxis (part of the Axis Biotec Brasil group) three years ago to develop and commercialize biosimilar and/or biobetter versions of biologic drugs using PlantForm’s plant-based manufacturing system, vivoXPRESS.
The companies’ long-term goal is to establish a commercial-scale manufacturing plant in Brazil to serve the South American market and a facility in Canada for the North American and European markets.
PlantForm’s pipeline includes trastuzumab, the active ingredient in Roche’s breast cancer drug, Herceptin, for a new indication in nerve regeneration; a biosimilar version of Roche’s Lucentis (ranibizumab); other biobetter drugs for niche indications; and medical countermeasures to terrorism threats such as ricin and sarin.
Companies that are also part of Axis Biotec Brasil group are Silvestre Labs, Cryopraxis and CellPraxis.