The brand new proprietor of a British-based prescription drugs firm that makes cannabis-based remedies is to speculate $100 million in a producing facility in Kent.
Jazz Prescribed drugs, which agreed a $7.2 billion takeover of GW Prescribed drugs a yr in the past — understood to be the biggest takeover of a UK-based biotech — is to start building of the 60,000 sq ft manufacturing unit at its current website at Kent Science Park in Sittingbourne.
It’s set to create greater than 100 “extremely expert” jobs after it opens in 2024 and alerts a lift to makes an attempt by the federal government and trade to rebuild Britain’s drug manufacturing capabilities. Chris Tovey, head of Europe and Worldwide at Jazz Prescribed drugs, stated that the funding was “far and away the biggest capital funding within the organisation’s historical past” and would end in greater than 500 workers on the website, the biggest within the mixed group.
GW was based in 1998 when it secured a licence from the House Workplace to develop hashish in southern England. It floated on the Various Funding Market in 2001 earlier than itemizing on Nasdaq in the USA in 2013.
It made a breakthrough in 2018 when the US Meals and Drug Administration authorized its lead product, Epidiolex, a cannabis-based therapy for extreme childhood epilepsy. The energetic ingredient utilized in Epidiolex is cannabidiol, part of the plant that doesn’t make customers excessive. The positioning in Kent, previously owned by Shell, has been occupied by GW for the reason that firm’s creation and was chosen as a result of it had a number one analysis glasshouse. GW’s hashish is grown commercially at secret places throughout the nation.
The positioning manufactures the extract, the energetic pharmaceutical substances and the formulated drug merchandise. Its enlargement will improve capability for Epidiolex and Sativex, its first product, which treats signs associated to a number of sclerosis. Jazz is looking for to safe approval for Sativex within the US.
The brand new facility will help the manufacturing of cannabinoid medicines underneath growth from a pipeline that features nabiximols, which is in section III trials as a therapy related to a number of sclerosis. It additionally has earlier-stage product candidates for different neuroscience issues, together with autism spectrum dysfunction.
Jazz, which acquired GW final Could in a money and shares deal, is valued at $9.8 billion on Nasdaq and is targeted on neuroscience and oncology. It’s domiciled in Dublin and has websites throughout North America and Europe, together with in Oxford, Cambridge and London. A couple of third of Jazz’s 3,000 staff are based mostly within the UK.
The enlargement of the Kent website is designed to extend group revenues to $5 billion in 2025 from $3 billion final yr. Bruce Cozadd, chairman and chief govt of Jazz, stated it might guarantee R&D actions weren’t “crowded out”.
George Freeman, minister for science, analysis and innovation, stated that the funding was a “massive signal of confidence within the UK life science ecosystem . . . [and] of UK experience in cannabinoid science and medicines”. Ministers have expressed a dedication to making sure that Britain rebuilds its medicine manufacturing infrastructure, following an trade shift in the direction of utilizing offshoring and contract producers, and officers have been given the duty of working with the NHS to determine manufacturing necessities.
The group has not acquired authorities help as a part of the funding however Tovey, 56, stated that it was “very reliant on authorities leaning into all the pieces that it says it’s going to do about persevering with to create a very wealthy expertise pool for the technical workers that we require on website”.
GW’s product approvals have helped to draw staff and distinguish the corporate from “cloudier” components of the hashish trade, he stated. “What Covid has taught us is that if a medication is concerned it doesn’t matter how determined issues are, individuals nonetheless want regulatory-approved medicines.”