Genentech Anticipates Full-Capacity Manufacturing

Genentech Anticipates Full-Capacity Manufacturing

Biotech giant Genentech (South San Francisco, CA) last week detailed its aggressive production plan and provided updates of its key manufacturing activities that reportedly will boost its capacity to run at nearly 100% for the next several years.

During the discussion, Patrick Yang, PhD, senior vice-president, Product Operations, stated the company “ideally likes to run at 80% to 90% capacity.” Yang itemized the methods by which the company increases its capacity, including improving yields, building new facilities, buying capacity, and working with contract manufacturers and collaborators.

Current contract manufacturing activities include projects with Lonza, (Portsmouth, NH), Novartis (France), and Wyeth (Andover, MA). Genentech also announced it continues to seek qualification and licensure of process changes for improving yields of Rituxan (approved in 1997 for treating non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) and Avastin (approved in 2004 for treating first-line metastatic colorectal cancer). The company also anticipates increasing its aseptic fill–finish capacity in South San Francisco.

The discussion (available as an audio Webcast until July 1) was held one day after Genentech completed its $417-million acquisition of Biogen Idec’s biologics manufacturing facility in Oceanside, CA. The company announced it has offered employment to approximately 330 of the current workforce and plans to hire an additional 200 employees by the end of 2006 for this facility. Upon US Food and Drug Administration licensure, expected in 2007, the Oceanside facility will add 90,000 L of capacity to the company’s existing 280,000 L. Moreover, Genentech is proceeding in its construction of a facility at its Vacaville, CA, site, which, after anticipated licensure in 2009, would provide an additional 200,000 L of capacity.

–Maribel Rios