BioOutsource doubles its capacity in a bet on a biosimilar boom

As more and more massive-selling biologics lose their patent protection, a new class of biosimilars is poised to blow up around the world, and the U.K.'s BioOutsource is amping up its capabilities to prepare for the boom.

The Scottish contract developer has opened a new biosimilar center of excellence in Glasgow, a move that effectively doubles its capacity for the analysis of biosimilar monoclonal antibodies, the company said. BioOutsource is adding 20 new jobs to staff its new operation, and the growing CRO increased its payroll by about 30% last year to accommodate a leap in demand, CEO Gerry MacKay said.

"The global biosimilar market is predicted to more than double in size to $19 billion by 2018," MacKay said in a statement. "The increasing demand for our biosimilars services and the addition of several new clients has made this a necessary investment for 2014, as our revenues in this market have quadrupled in the last 18 months."

BioOutsource's client roster has swelled to more than 30 biosimilar companies, MacKay said, as the CRO added new technologies and capabilities for characterization and comparability testing.

Meanwhile, as drugmakers queue up to commercialize knockoffs of blockbusters like Herceptin and Enbrel, there's plenty of opportunity for CROs with the scale and capacity for biologics development. Global outfit inVentiv Health teamed up Oncobiologics last year to share risks and profits on biosimilars of Humira, Rituxan, Avastin, Herceptin and Erbitux, and India's GVK Biosciences bought Aragen Bioscience this month to get a better position in the same market.

- read the announcement