The two companies aim to use laboratory as a pilot production facility that will develop biosimilar and biobetter protein drugs meant for the huge Brazilian market.
The joint venture called PlantPraxis is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
“Brazil is the seventh largest market for pharmaceuticals in the world and construction of the new PlantPraxis facility advances PlantForm’s global strategy for biosimilar drug development,” said Dr. Don Stewart, president and chief executive officer of PlantForm.
The laboratory and manufacturing facility will first develop a biosimilar version of adalimumab (Humira) for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.
The facility is being built with supporting funds from amounting to US$1 million from Finep (Brazilian Funding Agency for Studies and Projects).
Partners in the project hope the new laboratory will produce more affordable biopharmaceuticals for patients in Brazil and other South American countries.
“We’re very pleased to be moving forward with this exciting initiative, which will benefit many of the estimated 13 million people in Brazil who require treatment with monoclonal antibody drugs,” said Eduardo Cruz, founder, and CEO of Axis Biotec Brasil. “We look forward to working with the PlantForm team to continue advancing our plans to make affordable biopharmaceuticals available to millions of Brazilians.”
The new facility will be operational in 2018. It will be focused initially on adalimumab with several additional biological targets in the pipeline.
PlantForm’s Brazilian arm, PlantForm do Brasil, launched the joint venture with PharmaPraxis (part of the Axis Biotec Brasil group) three years ago to develop and commercialize biosimilar and/or biobetter versions of key biologic drugs using the vivoXPRESS manufacturing platform for plant-made pharmaceuticals.
The long-term goal is to establish a commercial-scale manufacturing plant in Brazil to serve the South American market and a facility in Canada for the North American and European markets.