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DSM Tapped For Australian Biologics Project

Biopharmaceuticals: Dutch firm's involvement reverses decision to quit sector in 2006

by Rick Mullin
May 4, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 19

Four years after closing a biologics manufacturing plant in Montreal, DSM has signed an agreement to design, build, and operate a mammalian cell biopharmaceutical facility in Brisbane, Australia, in partnership with the Commonwealth of Queensland. The 70,000-sq-ft facility will offer mammalian process development and current Good Manufacturing Process-certified manufacturing.

Expected to be in operation by 2013, the facility will be Australia's first major mammalian cell biologics venture. It is being built in the Translational Research Institute in conjunction with BioPharmaceuticals Australia, a Queensland-owned development agency.

The government of Queensland has provided $6.3 million in seed funding for the facility and plans to invest another $9 million to attract jobs and companies to the region as part of a 10-year plan to develop the biotechnology industry. BioPharmaceuticals Australia said last year that it had secured nearly $46 million from public sources for a biologics project.

"This is a turning point in the development of Queensland's biotechnology industry," says Queensland Premier Anna Bligh. "We have a plan to make this industry worth $20 billion and employ 16,000 people by 2025."

DSM sold the Montreal plant to AstraZeneca and refocused its biologics business on cell line technology development and licensing, partly through an agreement with Crucell. The two companies have developed a line of monoclonal antibodies called PER.C6.

"This offering will be an important continuation and expansion of services we currently provide out of our facility in Groningen, the Netherlands," says Karen King, president of DSM Biologics. The Australian offering is intended to include all of the cell lines, proteins, monoclonal antibodies, and processes developed by DSM.

"DSM is the ideal partner for this important initiative," says David Hughes, CEO of Biopharmaceuticals Australia. "Their vision of 'the biologics plant of the future' matches ours, and Australia's first facility will have state-of-the-art capabilities."



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