HGS Partners with Hospira and Eden Biodesign to Make Use of Excess Capacity

September 10, 2008

Human Genome Sciences (HGS, Rockville, MD, www.hgsi.com) has recently entered into manufacturing partnerships with Hospira (Lake Forcest, IL, www.hospira.com) and Eden Biodesign (Liverpool, UK, www.edenbiodesign.com).

Human Genome Sciences (HGS, Rockville, MD) has entered into manufacturing partnerships with Hospira (Lake Forest, IL) and the UK-based contract manufacturer Eden Biodesign (Liverpool, UK). Both deals will allow HGS to profit from its excess biomanufacturing capacity.

“Our goal is to gain between $30 and 60 million in revenue from manufacturing alliances over the next three to four years,” said Curran Simpson, senior vice president of Operations at HGS.

Through the deal with Hospira, announced on Sept. 4, HGS will carry out manufacturing process development and commercial supply for an unnamed set of Hospira biopharmaceutical products.

Under the agreement with Eden, announced in mid-August, the biopharmaceutical contract manufacturer will assist HGS in identifying new manufacturing clients for HGS’s large-scale commercial cell-culture production facilities in Rockville, MD. These may be new clients, or existing customers from Eden’s clinical-scale manufacturing business.

Roger Lias, president and group commercial director at Eden, said the collaboration should make for very smooth technology transfers for Eden’s clinical-scale customers who decide to transfer them to HGS for large-scale production. “Because we will be working closely with HGS, the processes we develop at Eden should transfer and scale-up very well to HGS’s equipment,” said Lias. “HGS also has world-class analytical capabilities, which will facilitate comparability work.”

Simpson stressed that entering into such manufacturing partnerships is not just about short-term revenues. “We think the model of combining internal production needs with manufacturing partnerships presents a lower-risk model for effective capacity utilization,” he said. “So we intend to be in this for the long term.”

Asked about the fear that some clients may have that HGS might want the capacity for its own products at some future date, Simpson said they are making long-term commitments to its partners, similar to those of established contract manufacturing organizations. “We would not be afraid to expand our current capacity if needed,” he said.

For Hospira, the new deal with HGS appears designed to further Hospira’s pursuit of its biosimilars strategy. Hospira’s current strength lies in generic small-molecule injectables, but the company already has one biosimilar on the market in Europe- Retacrit (epoetin zeta), which was originally developed by Stada (Bad Vilbel, Germany). Hospira also has four more biosimilars in its pipeline.

“Biosimilars are a very important growth area for Hospira,” said Stacey Eisen, vice president of global public affairs at Hospira. “We are eagerly awaiting a regulatory pathway for follow-on biologics in the US,” said Eisen. Hospira holds the rights to market Retacrit in the US and Canada.