Horizon takes the leap into manufacturing, buying out an Irish plant with around 40 employees in tow
Horizon Therapeutics, the biotech known for scooping up orphan drugs, has made its first foray into manufacturing with the purchase of a facility in Waterford, Ireland.
EirGen Pharma has sold its site to Horizon for $65 million and will transfer 40 employees to the company. The site is located in an Industrial Development Agency Ireland business park and will include a filling line and a freeze dryer that can be used for Horizon’s commercial medicines Tepezza, Uplizna and Krystexxa. It will also be used for drug development, the company said in a release.
Horizon is collaborating with Irish regulators and the FDA to become licensed for fill-finish manufacturing and expects the first medicine will be approved for release in two years. The company will hire another 50 staff members by the end of 2022, the company said.
“Adding to our strong network of contract manufacturing organizations, this facility will also play an important role in our global expansion,” CEO Tim Walbert said in a press release. “We look forward to leveraging our existing technical operations expertise in Ireland, along with the expertise of the EirGen employees, to build a robust and effective manufacturing operation that will enable us to meet the unmet needs of people impacted by rare diseases around the world.”
Just a week ago, Horizon inked a licnsing deal with Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals’ ARO-XDH, investigational RNAi therapy for uncontrolled gout. That drug will be used to target patients who fail to respond to oral urate lowering therapies, the company said. The company has made a name for itself taking orphan drugs tossed aside and getting them approved.
Tepezza treats thyroid eye disease, while Uplizna is a treatment for Devic disease, a disorder of the brain and spinal cord caused by inflammation of the optic nerve and spinal cord.
Horizon has agreed to acquire the facility for $65 million in upfront cash payment, and the deal will close in Q3 of 2021. There is additional land next door for further development and expansion, should the company decide to do so in the future. Krystexxa is an IV treatment that lowers uric acid levels and helps prevent permanent joint damage.