Exton, PA, August 14, 2012 – Morphotek®, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eisai Co., Ltd., today celebrated the grand opening of a new pilot manufacturing plant for the production of biological-based therapeutics to support its early-stage clinical trials. The company invested $80 million in the 60,000-square-foot facility, which encompasses a current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) grade pilot plant and office space for support functions, enabling Morphotek to maximize the efficiencies of its product development process and move closer to its goal of becoming a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company.
The facility, which is located in Exton, PA, will begin production operations in late 2012 and GMP manufacturing in 2013. Morphotek has already hired 23 new employees to work at the facility and expects additional jobs to be created in the near future. Throughout the building process, Morphotek incorporated a number of “green initiatives” into the design of the new pilot plant and has plans to apply for Silver level certification in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system, which is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington, DC-based, nonprofit coalition of building industry leaders.
“With the opening of our state-of-the-art pilot plant we now have the capability to produce our therapeutic antibodies much more efficiently and faster than we were capable of previously when we had to outsource their manufacture,” commented Philip M. Sass, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “The facility is designed and equipped to produce multiple biologics simultaneously and will enable us to initiate more Phase I studies to test the safety and efficacy of our lead antibodies than we could previously.”
Morphotek has a number of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) in clinical development including a Phase III mAb for ovarian cancer; a Phase II mAb for mesothelioma; and another mAb in Phase II clinical trials being developed to treat a broad array of solid tumors.
In addition to Mr. Haruo Naito, President and CEO of Eisai Co., Ltd., and Dr. Nicholas Nicolaides, President and CEO of Morphotek, special guests at the ribbon-cutting ceremony included numerous dignitaries from local government, education, biopharmaceutical industry organizations, and community service organizations.
Morphotek®, Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Co., Ltd., is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of protein and antibody products through the use of a novel and proprietary gene evolution technology. The technology has been successfully applied to a broad variety of cell lines and organisms to yield genetically diverse offspring that are suitable for pharmaceutical product development in the areas of antibody therapeutics, protein therapeutics, product manufacturing, drug target discovery, and improved output traits for commercial applications. The company is currently focusing its platform on the development and manufacturing of therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of cancer, inflammation and infectious disease. For more information, please visit www.morphotek.com.
About Eisai Co., Ltd.
Eisai Co., Ltd. (Haruo Naito, President and CEO) is a research-based human health care (hhc) company that discovers, develops and markets products throughout the world. Through a global network of research facilities, manufacturing sites and marketing subsidiaries, Eisai actively participates in all aspects of the worldwide health care system. Eisai employs approximately 11,000 employees worldwide.