GE Healthcare Life Sciences and Akeso Pharmaceuticals to speed up novel therapy manufacturing in China

(STL.News) – Akeso Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company specializing in the development and commercialization of novel biologics, will open a new facility in Guangzhou, China, based on GE Healthcare Life Sciences’ FlexFactory platform.  It will be designed for efficient and cost-effective manufacture of recombinant biologics.

GE Healthcare Life Sciences will speed up Akeso’s access to antibody production in support of Akeso’s pipeline of biopharmaceuticals, including therapies for the treatment of cancer, auto-immune diseases, arthritis, and Crohn’s disease.

Dr. Michelle Xia, Chairman and CEO of Akeso Biopharma, says: “We strive to provide affordable and high-quality therapeutics to patients. In 2016, we were the first user of FlexFactory for monoclonal antibody-manufacturing in South China. Once again, we chose to collaborate with GE to deploy new product lines and boost the production of next-generation immunotherapy drugs in China.”

The FlexFactory will be located on Akeso’s manufacturing site in Guangzhou Knowledge City. It is configured with capacity for 4 x 2000L bioreactors to support the clinical and commercial production of therapeutic antibodies. This becomes the 21st automation-integrated FlexFactory platform provided by GE Healthcare Life Sciences in China, and the 64th FlexFactory supplied globally to manufacturers of biopharmaceuticals.
Photo: FlexFactory manufacturing platform
Photo: FlexFactory manufacturing platform

Olivier Loeillot, General Manager of BioProcess at GE Healthcare Life Sciences, says: “Akeso is one of China’s most innovative manufacturers of next-generation therapies.  Rapid access to proven biomanufacturing technologies, and cost-efficient capabilities – supplied by trusted and seasoned industry partners, are key to realize the potential of the industry.  We are supporting the growth of Guangzhou’s biotech with flexible and scalable technologies, like FlexFactory and KUBio, as we recognize the needs of biomanufacturers to succeed in this highly competitive environment.”

China’s biopharmaceutical service sector has been growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30 percent and is poised to surge to $1.4 billion by 2021[1].  The monoclonal antibody market size in China is projected to reach RMB120.7 billion or $17 billion by 20252.

Akeso Pharmaceuticals is a joint venture between Akeso Biopharma and the Guangzhou Development District.  The FlexFactory will support the company’s aim to expand its operations to large-scale manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals, with an initial focus on bispecific antibodies.  Akeso’s plant is expected to be operational by end of 2020 and create up to 150 jobs upon opening.

GE Healthcare Life Sciences supports the growth of biomanufacturing in Guangzhou, China:

To date, GE Healthcare Life Sciences supplied 21 FlexFactory platforms in China, 5 of which are in Guangzhou.
In 2019, BeiGene opened a KUBio biomanufacturing facility in Guangzhou, China.
In 2018, Lonza announced an agreement with GE Healthcare, under which GE Healthcare will develop a biologics center featuring a KUBio biomanufacturing facility in Guangzhou, China.  The center is expected to be operational in 2020.

Sources:

1 Pharma Manufacturing (2019) China’s Biopharma Growth: Can it Continue?
2 Research and Markets (2019) Global and China Monoclonal Antibody Industry Report, 2019-2025

About GE Healthcare Life Sciences

GE Healthcare Life Sciences helps therapy innovators, researchers and healthcare providers accelerate how precision diagnostics and therapies are invented, made and used.  Our products enable biological analysis, research, development and the manufacture of advanced therapies and vaccines.  Life Sciences is part of the $19.8 billion healthcare business of GE (NYSE: GE).  With over 100 years of experience in the healthcare industry and more than 50,000 employees globally, GE Healthcare helps efficiently improve outcomes for patients, healthcare providers, researchers, and life sciences companies around the world.  Visit our website https://www.gelifesciences.com/about-us for more information.

About Akeso Pharmaceuticals

Akeso Pharmaceuticals is a joint venture between Akeso Biopharma and Guangzhou Hi-Tech Investment Group.  Akeso Pharmaceuticals is committed to the R&D, trial and commercial production of the world first BsAb drug for tumor immunotherapy. With an international innovation and entrepreneurship team led by six PhDs returned from overseas, our AK104, the world first antibody drug for PD1/CTLA4 has been approved by NMPA (China), TGA (Australia) and FDA (US) for clinical trials and has started international multi-center clinical phase I/II trials in Australia and China and soon in the US.  As the world first new drug project of PD1 dual-antibody entering phase II clinical trial, AK104 was named “Top10 Advancements of Chinese Biotechnology in 2017” and a national key technology project in “major new drug development” by Chinese National Health Commission.

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