LACHEN, Switzerland – Friday, September 28th 2012 [ME NewsWire]
(BUSINESS WIRE)– Octapharma AG today announces the opening of a €25 million research facility dedicated to recombinant protein drug development in Heidelberg, Germany. Octapharma Biopharmaceuticals GmbH is a subsidiary of Octapharma AG, one of the world’s largest providers of human therapeutic proteins and one of the first companies using recombinant technology from human cells. The investment into the state-of-the-art recombinant Research and Development center signifies Octapharma’s continued commitment to developing efficacious, safe and highly tolerable recombinant medicines. Octapharma’s unique approach, from human to human, sets the company apart from those recombinant products based on animal derived cell lines.
Octapharma Biopharmaceuticals GmbH was founded in 1997 in Munich. As the recombinant research arm of Octapharma grew it was evident that the original 1400 m² site, in the biotech research and innovation centre IZB, could not offer the spaceneeded for future expansion. Although alternatives in Munich were considered, when Wolfgang Marguerre, founder and chairman of Octapharma AG, was shown Heidelberg Technology Park he knew this was the place to build. The new location places the company in the heart of a scientific cluster close to medical and clinical establishments including the German Cancer Research Center (the DKFZ) and Heidelberg University Hospital, one of the leading medical centers in Europe.
Dr. Ulrich Thibaut, Board Member R&D Octapharma AG, said “the building resembles a ship, with a glass bow, going forward into new frontiers. In many ways this reflects the work we are doing here, undertaking a journey of discovery. Our new location in Heidelberg will strengthen our footprint in one of the most important biotech clusters in Germany.”
The striking new 10,000 m² building was designed by local Heidelberg architectural firm Burger and Partner. Not only will the impressive building be home to innovative research in human recombinant technology, but also to the development of the clinical production of these new products. The 6 meter high space allows for the scaling up to 1000 litre fermenters for production. Currently employing 46 people, Octapharma Biopharmaceuticals now has laboratory and office space for up to 120 staff.
Wolfgang Marguerre said “the new home of Octapharma Biopharmaceuticals is in my hometown, only a few minutes from my birthplace and the school I attended as a boy. I feel very proud that we are focusing these key research activities in this excellent university city. The groundbreaking work being carried out here will have international reach.”
Carola Schröder, GM of Octapharma Biopharmaceuticals, said “through the use of human cell lines we aim to create more compatible medicines with improved tolerability and reduced immunogenicity. As a modern alternative to plasma products these innovative medicines will be used in the treatment of patients including those with haemophilia. One project in the preclinical stage uses this recombinant technology to develop supportive therapy to restore the immune system after tumour patients have undergone chemotherapy.”
To celebrate the opening of the state-of-the-art facility Octapharma brings Oktoberfest to Heidelberg in the form of a party to honour the Bavarian roots of many of the employees who moved from Munich to the new location in Heidelberg. Some 400 guests, including the Mayor of Heidelberg, are joining the Marguerre family to mark the beginning of a new era in Octapharma’s innovative research into recombinant technologies.
Octapharma is one of the largest plasma human protein product manufacturers in the world. Our core business is the development, production and sale of premium human proteins from human plasma and human cell-lines. Octapharma employs almost 5,000 people in 28 countries with sales of approximately €1 billion. Patients in over 80 countries are treated with products in the following therapeutic areas:
• Haematology (coagulation disorders)
• Immunotherapy (immune disorders)
• Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine
Octapharma owns five state of the art production facilities in Austria, France, Germany, Sweden and Mexico. For more information visit www.octapharma.com
Tel: +41 (55) 451 21 78