UK Minister for Life Sciences opens new Porton Biopharma manufacturing facility

Published: 2-Feb-2016

Will increase the capacity of the existing centre used to manufacture cancer drug Erwinase

George Freeman MP, UK Minister for Life Sciences, opened Porton Biopharma's new multi-million pound pharmaceutical manufacturing facility this week (1 February).

The new facility, located on the Porton Down Campus near Salisbury, Wiltshire, will increase the capacity of the existing pharmaceutical centre used for the manufacture of cancer drug Erwinase, which saves the lives of thousands of children every year.

PBL is the sole licensed manufacturer of Erwinase for the treatment of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL), the most common form of cancer in children. In ALL the bone marrow makes too many lymphocytes which are not fully developed and are not able to work normally. ALL is treated using a range of chemotherapy drugs, which can include asparginase enzymes that prevent the lymphocytes from surviving and reproducing.

Erwinase is an asparaginase enzyme derived from Erwinia chrysanthemi which is used in patients who have had an allergic reaction to asparaginase enzymes from other sources.

Freeman, who was accompanied by John Glen, MP for Salisbury, along with Richard Walters, Alistair Cunningham and Baroness Jane Scott from Wiltshire Council, said: 'This impressive new facility on the Porton Campus has the potential to make a significant contribution to the local economy and to UK life sciences – a sector which has seen £6bn of investment and created 17,000 jobs since 2011. Not only will it help to drive the innovation and growth of the future, but it will also produce life-enhancing treatments for the benefit of NHS patients.'

Dr Roger Hinton, Managing Director of PBL, added: 'I am delighted that the Minister with our local MP John Glen, have been so supportive in helping PBL to seek to grow the business which is essential in enabling us to produce greater quantities of life-saving products and to support jobs in the local community.'

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