The USA general manager for New Jersey-based Advanced Accelerator Applications says the company chose Indianapolis for its planned $72 million manufacturing facility because of the unique nature of the drug it will produce. Mike Rossi says the radioligand therapies used to treat cancer have a very short shelf life, which is why the company needed a more centralized location. “This location, close to the Indianapolis International Airport and the major ground transportation hubs around the facility, ensures that our medicines can be manufactured, packaged, transported and administered to patients anywhere in North America within 72 hours.”
In an interview with Business of Health Reporter Kylie Veleta, Rossi said the initial goal of creating 50 jobs is just a starting point.
“We acquired 16 acres and we’re using a small portion of that to build the initial 60,000-square-foot facility. We’ll have four production lines in that, but it was important for us to have the land surrounding it that we could expand beyond those four production lines and continue to grow the facility,” said Rossi. “We expect to employ up to 90 associates as we get into full swing.”
The company, a subsidiary of Switzerland-based Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS), broke ground on the facility last fall. Rossi says Novartis’ $2.1 billion acquisition of West Lafayette-based Endocyte Inc. also played a major factor in the decision to locate in Indiana.
“Our technology workforce that is part of the Endocyte acquisition really understands radioligand therapy and has a great amount of expertise,” said Rossi. “They were also extremely embedded into the community in Indiana and for us, we wanted to expand on that relationship and continue to recruit highly-educated and experienced, talented labor force that Indiana has to offer.”
Rossi adds the nuclear pharmacy program at Purdue University made the Hoosier state attractive to AAA. He says it’s one of only a few that can produce authorized nuclear pharmacists, which will ensure a talented workforce that specializes in nuclear medicine.
When the facility is operational it will produce AAA’s Lutathera drug, which targets a type of cancer known as gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Rossi says the plan will be to produce more radioligand therapies at the plant.
“The facility itself will be able to produce about 85,000 doses per year of radioligand therapy in its original configuration with room to expand in the future.”
Construction on the facility is expected to be complete in 2023.