RIO DE JANEIRO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Construction will begin this summer on a state-of-the-art biopharmaceutical lab and pilot production facility in Rio de Janeiro that will support the development of key biosimilar and biobetter protein drugs for the Brazilian market, through a joint venture between Brazil-based Axis Biotec Brasil and Canadian biotech company PlantForm Corporation.
The new laboratory and manufacturing facility, supported by funding from Finep (Brazilian Funding Agency for Studies and Projects), is expected to be completed by the end of 2017. It marked a major milestone, when Finep provided a US$1-million grant to Silvestre Labs, part of the Axis Biotec Brasil group of companies. The joint venture, called PlantPraxis, will first develop a biosimilar version of adalimumab (Humira®) for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.
“We’re very pleased to be moving forward with this exciting initiative, which will benefit many of the estimated 13 million people in Brazil who require treatment with monoclonal antibody drugs,” said Eduardo Cruz, founder and CEO of Axis Biotec Brasil. “We look forward to working with the PlantForm team to continue advancing our plans to make affordable biopharmaceuticals available to millions of Brazilians.”
The new facility will be operational in 2018, focused initially on adalimumab with several additional biological targets in the pipeline.
“Brazil is the seventh largest market for pharmaceuticals in the world and construction of the new PlantPraxis facility advances PlantForm’s global strategy for biosimilar drug development,” said Dr. Don Stewart, PlantForm’s President and CEO.
PharmaPraxis (biopharmaceutical company of the Axis Biotec Brasil group) launched the joint venture with PlantForm’s Brazilian arm, PlantForm do Brasil, three years ago to develop and commercialize biosimilar and/or biobetter versions of key biologic drugs using the vivoXPRESS® manufacturing platform for plant-made pharmaceuticals. The long-term goal is to establish a commercial scale manufacturing plant in Brazil to serve the South American market, and a facility in Canada for the North American and European markets.
About PlantForm Corporation
PlantForm Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the rapid development and production of specialty antibody and protein drugs using the company’s proprietary plant-based vivoXPRESS® platform.
About Axis Biotec Brasil
Axis Biotec Brasil is a holding company, which sponsors and manages research, development and innovative business in health and life sectors.