Roche Holding has opened a new biotech production facility in Basel, Switzerland, where it will manufacture the cancer drug Avastin. Roche also plans to open a new facility in Penzberg, Germany, in July.
The Indian state of Rajasthan is opening three new drug-testing laboratories, in addition to the existing facility in Jaipur. The new labs are expected to significantly reduce the turnaround time for testing random samples of drugs. The Rajasthan State Drug Control Department is also training inspectors to monitor prices under new regulations set by India's National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority.
Roche Holding said it plans to spend about $880 million over the next five years to expand the manufacturing capacity of its global biologics network. The expansion will cover the firm's biologics sites in Penzberg, Germany; Basel, Switzerland; and Vacaville and Oceanside, Calif., in the U.S. The investment, which is projected to involve the addition of about 500 jobs, will meet demand for the company's biologic drugs, including RoActemra and Perjeta.
The promise of stem cell therapy is causing some Indian doctors to give "false hopes of a dramatic cure from stem cells" and charge very high fees. Pharmabiz says the federal health ministry "needs to wake up and act without any further delay" in establishing a national policy for stem cell use.
Blood bank directors in India seem to agree that new research findings that blood types can be converted to the universal O type will help ease -- but not solve -- blood shortages. However, they cited some roadblocks, such as the long-term effects of conversion, antigens and RH factor.
Roche announced it has bought Therapeutic Human Polyclonals, a California- and Germany-based biotech, to add to its protein research pharma center. Roche said it paid $56.5 million to buy THP, which specializes in human antibody technologies.