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Lacking Ability to Manufacture Drugs? Go See Althea

Althea Technologies, a Sorrento Valley-based biotech and pharmaceutical contract manufacturer, debuted its 30,000-square-foot biologic manufacturing facility last week.

The structure was built to accommodate small to midsized drug makers with injectable products either on the market or nearing FDA approval. Biotechs without the ability or capacity to manufacture their own drugs, or biologics, will partner with Althea to develop products on a commercial scale.

Althea CEO Shabbir Anik says he hopes the facility will serve biotechs and pharmaceutical businesses worldwide that lack large-scale, in-house manufacturing abilities, allowing them to stay focused on research and development efforts.

?here aren? really too many midsized manufacturers in the U.S., so we really fill that niche,?he said.

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The facility was financed with a $12 million line of credit through City National Bank and an undisclosed investment by Telegraph Hill Partners, a San Francisco private equity firm. Telegraph has invested almost $25 million in Althea during the past couple of years, according to Althea Chief Financial Officer Bill Kachioff.

The facility, designed with systems to ensure sterile manufacturing, complies with FDA rules for such laboratories in the United States and Europe.

Althea Technologies ranks 39th on the Business Journal? latest list of the county? Fastest-Growing Private Companies with 105.8 percent revenue growth from 2005 through 2007. Its revenues increased to $28.6 million in 2007 from $13.9 million in 2005, while its local full-time employee count jumped to 160 as of July 1, 2008, compared with 87 on the same date in 2006.


???p>New Deal:

Drug development partners Isis Pharmaceuticals of Carlsbad and Massachusetts-based Alnylam inked a deal last week to share technology pioneered at Isis for fighting disease.

The deal, worth as much as $31 million, involves the development of gene-silencing technology called single-stranded RNA interference.

Previous efforts aimed at silencing disease-causing proteins used double-stranded small interfering RNAs.

Isis says it will benefit from $11 million upfront plus development milestones as well as sub-license income on any collaboration that Alnylam establishes using the technology.


Send biotechnology news to Heather Chambers at hchambers@sdbj.com, or call her at 858-277-6359.

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