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Novartis Opens Asia’s First Kymriah ® Commercial Production Site

November 02, 2020

Novartis announced the receipt of marketing authorization from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) for Foundation for Biomedical Research and Innovation at Kobe (“FBRI”) to manufacture and supply commercial Kymriah® (tisagenlecleucel) for patients in Japan. This approval makes FBRI the first and only approved commercial manufacturing site for CAR-T cell therapy in Asia.

“Behind our efforts to reimagine medicine with CAR-T cell therapy lies a commitment to build a manufacturing network that brings treatment closer to patients,” commented Steffen Lang, Global Head of Novartis Technical Operations. “The expertise and infrastructure of FBRI, a world-leading manufacturing organization, allows us to bring CAR-T manufacturing to Asia. With the Japan MHLW commercial manufacturing approval, the recent capacity expansion in the US and our ongoing efforts to optimize and evolve our processes, we are well-positioned to deliver this potentially curative treatment option to more patients around the world.”

Novartis has the largest geographical CAR-T cell therapy manufacturing network in the world, including seven CAR-T manufacturing facilities, across four continents. Commercial manufacturing for Kymriah now takes place at five sites globally including at the Morris Plains, New Jersey facility, where the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a further increase in manufacturing capacity.

Kymriah is the first-ever FDA-approved CAR-T cell therapy, and the first-ever CAR-T to be approved in two distinct indications. It is a one-time treatment designed to empower patients’ immune systems to fight their cancer. Kymriah is currently approved for the treatment of r/r pediatric and young adult (up to 25 years of age) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and r/r adult diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL)1. Kymriah, approved in both indications by the Japan MHLW in 2019, is currently the only CAR-T cell therapy approved in Asia. Clinical manufacturing began at FBRI in 2019 and will continue alongside commercial manufacturing.

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