German biotech firm Evotec has commenced construction on its new biologics manufacturing facility, dubbed J.POD 2 EU, at its Campus Curie in Toulouse, France.

J.POD 2 EU marks the company’s second cGMP biomanufacturing facility and will be the first commercial biomanufacturing facility in Europe.

The facility will deploy advanced technology from the company’s subsidiary ‘Just – Evotec Biologics’, which uses small, automated, intensified and continuous bioprocessing operations.

The technology would deliver the much-needed capacity, flexibility and quality for biotherapeutic development and manufacturing, said the company.

Evotec CEO Werner Lanthaler said: “The global availability and accessibility of highly effective biotherapeutics has been Just – Evotec Biologics’ mission right from the start.

“The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has underlined the need for flexible and nearshore biomanufacturing capacities.

“We are very grateful that through the support of the French government as well as all local institutions, we can now continue to deliver on this mission with the construction of Europe’s first J.POD facility, this is critical for society.”

Evotec estimates the total investment required for the construction of J.POD 2 EU manufacturing facility at around €150m.

The French government, the Occitanie Region, Bpifrance, the Haute-Garonne prefecture as well as Toulouse Métropole will support the construction with up to €50m funding.

Evotec invests in Oxford University spin-out company OxVax

In a separate development, Evotec has invested in OxVax, a new immuno-oncology company spun out from Oxford University, focused on the development of next-generation of cancer vaccines.

OxVax is engaged in developing an advanced cancer vaccine platform based on a unique population of dendritic cells that induce a potential anti-tumour immune response.

OxVax CEO Marcelo Bravo said: “Our platform enables the manufacture at scale of an off-the-shelf highly potent vaccine which addresses the major limitations that have frustrated cancer vaccine development in the past.

“Our immediate focus will be the definition of the quality profile of the product and the industrialisation of the manufacturing protocol which will put us in a strong position to proceed towards the clinic.”