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Randi Hernandez was science editor at BioPharm International from September 2014 to May 2017.
Catalent announced that it would partner with Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, and its subsidiary MGC Pharma, to promote GPEx technology, a high-titer vector for stable mammalian cell lines.
Catalent and MGC Pharma announced on Jan. 19, 2015 that the two companies are joining forces to meet the emerging need in the Asia area for proteins obtained from mammalian cell lines. Under the terms of the agreement, Catalent will engineer the cell lines and carry out development using its GPEx technology, and MGC Pharma will complete the manufacturing for Phase III and commercial purposes.
According to a press release, use of the GPEx technology to engineer cell lines for the production of biologics will speed MGC Pharma’s products to market. “This agreement will allow Catalent to continue to grow its biologics development and manufacturing interests of multiple NBEs and biosimilars, particularly in the Asia Pacific market,” said Mike Jenkins, vice-president of business development, Catalent Biologics, Asia Pacific. “The collaboration with MGC Pharma fits Catalent’s strategy for growth in what we consider to be a promising region.”
Importantly, the arrangement will foster future biosimilar cell-line development. Through the deal, MGC and MGC Pharma will have the ability to offer biosimilar cell lines produced using GPEx applications to outside pharmaceutical partners for future development and commercialization.
Similar companies in Asia have already employed Catalent’s proprietary technology. In April 2014, the company partnered with Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. (Hisun) to provide the company with a broad range of biosimilar cell lines for the manufacture of biosimilars such as infliximab, adalimumab, and alemtuzumab. Catalent also manufactures an anti-CORIN monoclonal antibody using its proprietary GPEx cell-line expression technology to help researchers at the iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) at Kyoto University in Japan in their quest to create a pluripotent stem cell-based transplant therapy for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
Catalent has slowly been pushing more into the emerging market of Asian biopharmaceuticals. In 2013, it announced that it would be expanding into China with its first Asia-Pacific president, adding to operations in Japan and Singapore.