Dendreon commits to prostate cancer vaccine Provenge with new lease for manufacturing site

Dendreon, which last summer changed ownership for a third time in as many years, signaled its faith in prostate drug Provenge by signing a lease extension for its Seal Beach, California, manufacturing facility and headquarters.

The biopharma’s new lease agreement extends its 10-year presence in the Southern California area through 2030, it announced. The Seal Beach site, which employs 190 people and stretches about 180,000 square feet, includes the company’s headquarters and a cell therapy production plant.

“Securing our long-term presence in Seal Beach will provide us continued access to the unique pool of professional and technical talent that is integral to our business,” Jim Caggiano, Dendreon’s chief executive, said in a statement. “We built this facility with growth in mind and look forward to realizing the full potential of Provenge.”

The company earlier inked a lease at its South Lake Union location in Seattle. That deal included a renovation of the 75,000-square-foot facility to create maximum space efficiency for its operations and medical organizations, the company said.

Last summer, China’s Sanpower Group sold Dendreon to Nanjing Cenbest for $868 million. The company is one of China’s largest retailers, but has recently moved into healthcare. Sanpower, which remains a Dendreon investor as part of the deal, acquired the maker of Provenge from Valeant Pharmaceuticals for $820 million in January 2017. Valeant originally shelled out $495 million to purchase Dendreon out of bankruptcy in 2015.

Dendreon has struggled to create a niche for its prostate cancer therapy. Once considered a potential blockbuster, the therapy ran into a delay at the FDA before its approval in 2010. Then followed a variety of operational problems that weighed on the product prior to a company bankruptcy. Under its series of new owners, it has registered some growth but lags behind rivals.

Provenge is its only approved product, but Dendreon Chairwoman Grace Xu has said the company might look at making an acquisition or in-license an assets like a CAR-T or TCR-T candidate in the surging area of cell therapies. She figures the company already has the R&D infrastructure and manufacturing know-how to make that an easy transition.

May 23, 2019

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