Roche Opens New Biotechnology Center; Begins Work on Avastin

May 17, 2007
Angie Drakulich
ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Basel, Switzerland (May 11)-Roche opened a new biotechnology production center in Basel today, just two years after beginning construction. The facility will manufacture "Avastin," a cancer drug that inhibits the formation of new tumor blood vessels.

Basel, Switzerland (May 11)-Roche (www.roche.com) opened a new biotechnology production center in Basel today, just two years after beginning construction. The facility will manufacture “Avastin,” a cancer drug that inhibits the formation of new tumor blood vessels.

The Roche Group plans to inaugurate a second new facility in Penzberg, Germany this July. Together with the Basel site, these two facilities will contribute to the Group with supplies of Avastin and Herceptin for cancer patients.

“After completing construction in just two years, we can now begin preparing for regulatory approval and launch of commercial production of Avastin,” Roche’s Matthias M. Baltisberger said about the Basel site in a company statement. “The new building is part of a site development scheme that includes consolidating all production facilities on the northern sector of the site.”

The new facility, located in an eight-story building designed by Herzog & de Meuron, continues a long-standing commitment to responsible development at the company. More than 170 new jobs have been created to staff the Basel facility, which is currently being prepared for qualification and certification by regulatory authorities. The first batch of Avastin from Basel is scheduled for delivery in 2009. Until then, Genentech’s manufacturing facilities will supply Avastin to patients.

Avastin has been shown to extend the lives of patients with four types of cancer: metastatic colorectal, breast, lung, and advanced renal cancer. The drug has been approved for the treatment of metastatic colorectral cancer in the US as well as the European Union, Switzerland, and Japan. Avastin also has been approved in the US for advanced non-small cell lung cancer and in Europe for breast cancer.