Roche announced plans to invest 800 million Swiss francs within its global manufacturing network to increase production capabilities for its biologic medicines over the next five years. The investment will be spread across sites in Penzberg (Germany), Basel (Switzerland), as well as Vacaville and Oceanside (USA). Approximately 500 new jobs are expected to be created in conjunction with the facility expansions.
"Biologic medicines have become an essential part of modern medicine and play an important role in improving the lives of patients. As the world’s largest supplier of biologics, Roche is committed to making the necessary investments to ensure ongoing supply of these medicines at the highest quality standards” said Daniel O’Day, Chief Operating Officer of Roche’s Pharmaceuticals Division. “Increasing our manufacturing capacity also highlights the confidence we have in the research and development of a range of new biologic medicines that will help serve unmet medical needs.”
The investment will support increasing demand for licensed biologic medicines, such as RoACTEMRA (tocilizumab), Kadcyla (trastuzumab emtansine) and Perjeta (pertuzumab), alongside providing a strong foundation for the delivery of 39 investigational biologic medicines in the Roche pipeline.
Biologic manufacturing capacity will be increased at sites in Vacaville and Oceanside in California, U.S with a planned investment of approximately 260 million Swiss francs creating around 250 new jobs. In Penzberg, Germany, Roche will invest approximately 350 million Swiss francs toward increased manufacturing capacity and equipment refurbishment, creating around 200 positions.
In addition, construction of an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) production facility will begin in Basel, Switzerland through an investment of over 190 million Swiss francs, which is expected to create 50 jobs. This investment will provide additional capacity and flexibility to support Roche’s first approved ADC, Kadcyla, and a further eight ADCs in clinical development.
About biologics and their manufacturing
Biologic medicines are large molecules that are created by biological processes, rather than being chemically synthesised and are typically administered via injection or intravenously. Roche is a world leader in biologic medicine manufacturing, with long-standing expertise in biotech manufacturing and has the largest biotech production capacity of any company worldwide.
The biologics unit at Roche consists of several manufacturing sites in North America, Europe and Asia, which work as a closely aligned network focused on all aspects of biologic medicine manufacturing and supply. The manufacturing of biologic medicines consists of two operations, the production of drug substance and drug product. The production of drug substance uses genetically modified cells to serve as mini-factories that can manufacture the appropriate proteins. The production of drug product includes the final formulation of the medicine into a sterile liquid or powder that can be filled into a vial, syringe or device, which is then packaged for worldwide distribution.
Antibody-drug conjugates can attach to certain types of cancer cells and deliver chemotherapy directly to them, offering patients a chance to extend their lives with fewer of the side effects commonly experienced with chemotherapy.