- Japanese pharma Daiichi Sankyo plans to invest 15 billion Japanese Yen ($135 million) to expand its manufacturing capabilities around antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), part of a company-wide effort to streamline R&D operations and re-orient the company towards oncology and pain.
- With the money, Daiichi Sankyo will upgrade and build new manufacturing lines at three manufacturing plants in Japan to support a tripling of production capacity by 2021, the pharma said in a statement Thursday.
- Daiichi Sankyo currently has ten novel ADCs in Phase 1 and pre-clinical development. The new lines will help supply the compounds for clinical testing and potential commercial use down the road.
The company also sold off a pharmaceutical packaging plant in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in early April as part of a move to outsource packaging of its products.
All of these efforts are aimed at lower R&D operating costs and generally redistributing resources to better support pipeline development.
Daichii Sankyo has said some employees at the Japanese research subsidiary, along with the research functions from both closed units, would be transferred to Daiichi Sankyo corporate.
Antibody drug conjugates are more complicated than some other compounds, consisting of a cytotoxic payload and a targeting monoclonal antibody joined by a linker molecule. While ADC development has been ongoing for years, there are only a few drugs currently licensed including Seattle Genetics' Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) and Roche's Kadcyla (ado-trastuzumab emtansine).
"We believe that our researchers have systemically addressed several critical limitations of current ADC technology, so we want to ensure this expertise is carried over to the clinic," said Antoine Yver, head of Oncology R&D at Daiichi Sankyo in a statement.
Japanese drugmakers have been particularly active in moving to reshape their R&D operations of late. Both Takeda and Eisai have announced new organizational plans in the past year.