Cancer Drug Candidate Virexxa to Be Manufactured in Estonia
Rahvusvahelised uudised 27 May 2013  EWR
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Estonian Rewview
The cancer drug candidate Virexxa, a part of the product portfolio of the Competence Centre for Cancer Research (CCCR), is going to be produced at the AS Kevelt company in Estonia, the owners of which will upgrade the drug manufacturing unit for eight million euros.

Riin Ehin, manager of CCCR, said the international biological drugs and diagnostics company OPKO Health at the end of April invested 46 million euros in Pharmsynthez, parent company of the CCCR partner AS Kevelt. The owners invested an additional 20 million euros. Eight million euros will be spent for the upgrade of the drug manufacturing unit of AS Kevelt, where drugs will start to be manufactured for the European and US markets.

"The co-operation between Pharmsynthez and CCCR can be compared to Skype, as development operations and in the future also production will take place in Estonia. Estonia was chosen as the location because of the strong co-operation between the public and private sector here in cancer research and drug development," Ehin said.

She said investors have voiced recognition of CCCR's effective and well structured functioning, good understanding of new paradigms in drug development, and the capability to bring a scientific invention to the point of innovation. AS Kevelt and CCCR are working together also on the development of another drug candidate, Oncohist, meant for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia.

Virexxa is candidate for approval for the treatment of endometrial cancer, or malignancies that arise from the endometrium, or lining, of the uterus. There is no specific treatment now for the illness that is estimated to affect 25,000 patients in Europe annually. Trials of Virexxa have been very successful and the drug is seen to have a potential market of 600 million to one billion euros. Virexxa also has large potential in the US market.

Established in 2005, CCCR is a research and development institution certified by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research. Its portfolio includes 14 projects that are financed by Enterprise Estonia, the Archimedes foundation and CCCR's 14 partners. The latter include the Tallinn University of Technology, the North Estonia Medical Center, the University of Tartu, as well as biotechnology, drug development and organic synthesis businesses from Estonia, Sweden, the United States and Latvia.
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