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Green Cross Biotherapeutics (GCBT), a biopharmaceutical company and member of the GC Pharma family, broke ground on the construction of Canada’s first intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and albumin manufacturing plant in Montreal, Quebec, in June 2015.
The facility, one of the most significant green field investments in the Canadian biopharmaceutical industry, is part of GCBT’s global expansion strategy and will serve as the North American headquarters for the group. It is also the first project to be set up through the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement.
The plant was completed in the third quarter of 2016 and inaugurated in October 2017. It will become the only Canadian manufacturing facility of plasma-derivative products, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and albumin, upon commencing commercial production in 2020.
It will supply / export therapeutic plasma-derived products to local and international markets, including the US and China, while also establishing a stable local source for Canadian customers.
Héma-Québec, a non-profit organisation that manages the supply of blood in Quebec, agreed to purchase IVIG products manufactured by GCBT’s plant for five years after the plant begins production.
Green Cross Biotherapeutics’ manufacturing plant location and benefits
Green Cross Biotherapeutics’ state-of-the-art manufacturing facility was constructed in the Saint-Laurent campus of Montreal Technoparc, an industrial park in Montreal.
The Saint-Laurent campus, a science park with more than 90 technology companies, facilitates the emergence of new companies.
The campus currently has more than 5,620 employees, while GCBT added 200 more jobs through the new facility that requires qualified engineers, scientists, microbiologists and other professionals for the production and distribution of products.
Details of the IVIG and albumin manufacturing plant
GCBT planned Project Oasis to expand its business to North America and Europe.
The plant marks the beginning of Project Oasis and will become the leading project by serving as a North American hub for the production and distribution of various therapeutic products from the company.
Conceptual design for the plant was completed in January 2015 and the basic design was prepared by April 2015.
The plant has a gross floor area of 225,000ft² constructed on a 700,000ft² plot. The plant is built under current US and Canadian good manufacturing practices (cGMP), equipped with innovative and technologically advanced process equipment.
The plasma fractionation facility features state-of-the-art filling and packaging areas to produce final bulk products for commercial use.
Products at the new manufacturing plant
McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and Research Institute of the MUHC (RI-MUHC) inaugurated a new research institute that was jointly built at MUHC’s Glen, Montreal site in February 2015.
The plant will manufacture two plasma-derived products including intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) 5% and 10%, and albumin 5%, 20% and 25%.
IVIG is a high-purity IgG manufactured from plasma derivate collected from individual donors. It’s a pivotal therapeutic solution for infectious and immune diseases.
Albumin is a hypoalbuminemia drug manufactured from normal plasma, using the cold ethanol plasma fractionation method. It is used in the treatment of burns and as a blood-volumising agent.
Green Cross Biotherapeutics will manufacture albumin 5%, 20% and 25% for Canada, US and China from 2020.
The plant has an initial capacity of one million litres of plasma per year, which can be increased up to two million litres per year without structural renovations.
At full capacity, it generates annual revenue of approximately $228m through its manufacturing products and a total sales turnover of more than $380m, including imported and distributed goods.
GCBT signed a long-term supply agreement with Hema Quebec for fractionation services and supply of plasma protein products. Clinical trials are currently under progress, while commercial production is anticipated in 2020.
Financing for GCBT’s new plant in Montreal Technoparc
The total investment for the project is C$400m ($300m).
Investissement Québec, a joint-stock company that promotes investments in Quebec through financial assistance, provided a loan of C$17m ($12.9m) for the project along with a tax benefit of C$8m ($6m).
The Korean National Pension Service, a private equity fund, contributed C$70m ($53m) in equity.
Gouvernement du Québec provided a loan of C$5m ($3.7m) through the ESSOR programme at Investissement Québec.
GC Pharma (previously Green Cross Corporation) established Green Cross Biotherapeutics in 2014 in a strategic move to expand its business into North America and Europe.
Based in Yongin, South Korea, the company provides safe and effective healthcare solutions and specialises in developing and manufacturing plasma derivatives, recombinant proteins, preventive vaccines and therapeutic antibodies.
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