Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Some Good News For Merck's Billingham, England BioScience Facility

For the next ten years, a company called Thrombogenetics will source its truncated human protein plasmin from MSD in the UK -- a subsidiary of Merck. The plasmin is a raw material for a proposed injectible drug -- a single injection, into the eye -- to treat diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, where vitreomacular adhesion contributes to the patient’s condition. The treatment has yet to be approved in the United States, or the EU, however -- that may happen in 2012.

While it is always possible that Merck would shift the production to other facilities, human proteins production is no mean feat -- so this should be a fairly stable relationship. Thus this should give at least some MSD Billingham people some job security. Per the Outsourcing-Pharma story, overnight:

. . . .Under the agreement MSD Biologics, part of the Merck BioManufacturing network, will continue to produce bulk microplasmin, a truncated form of human protein plasmin, and a naturally occurring enzyme that dissolves protein formations, crucial to blood clot formation.

This production will take place at MSD’s Billingham, UK facility, which has been approved by the US FDA and the EMA, therefore helping ThromboGenics meet its commercial needs for bulk drug substance of the therapeutic agent. . . .

The approval is for the Merck facility, not the finished Thrombogentics drug candidate, just to be clear.

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