Horizon sets up shop in Bay Area at it ramps up R&D, manufacturing

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San Francisco (Pixabay/David Mark)

Horizon Therapeutics is expanding its U.S. footprint to the Bay Area—the company unveiled a new R&D and manufacturing site in South San Francisco.

The 20,000-square-foot site will house laboratory space for formulation and process development on the manufacturing side as well as bioanalytical method development and other functions on the R&D side, Horizon said in a statement. It plans to add jobs spanning the areas of bioanalysis, clinical research, pharmacology, manufacturing and business development.

“This is a significant step as we continue to grow our manufacturing and R&D capability to address patient needs through the development of groundbreaking therapies,” said Horizon CEO Timothy Walbert in a statement. “We are excited to join the thriving life sciences community of South San Francisco, allowing us the opportunity to connect to newer technologies, leading academic institutions and the dynamic scientific area at large.”

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Horizon started out in Illinois, before moving its headquarters to Ireland in 2014 through its acquisition of Vidara Therapeutics. It picked up the chronic granulomatous disease drug Actimmune. It built much of its portfolio through M&A, including the gout medicine Krystexxa from its 2016 Crealta buyout and its late-stage eye disease med, teprotumumab, which it scored through its $145 million acquisition of River Vision in 2017.

As teprotumumab inched toward approval, the company emphasized its desire to become a company that brought forward medicines developed in-house.

The company’s “longstanding commitment” to helping people with rare diseases is evident in its portfolio of six rare disease medicines, Shao-Lee Lin, Horizon’s chief scientific officer and R&D head, told FierceBiotech earlier this year. But those medicines were acquired when they had already hit the market. Teprotumumab was the first development-stage program that Horizon acquired, opening the door to becoming a research-focused company.

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“This new facility will allow us to function more seamlessly and efficiently as we expand our pipeline,” said Srini Ramanathan, Ph.D., Horizon’s vice president of development sciences and site head for the South San Francisco site. “We look forward to exploring new partnerships in the South San Francisco biotech hub, and tapping into the wealth of talent in the area’s biotech and academic communities, as we develop new solutions to address needs in rare diseases and beyond.”

The news comes as Horizon readies to launch teprotumumab. This summer, the company beefed up its sales force for a drug that is expected to run around $150,000 per course of treatment and yield U.S. sales of more than $750 million.