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Mesoblast to accelerate operations in S'pore

Australia-based stem cell therapy firm Mesoblast has announced plans to accelerate commercial manufacturing operations in Singapore. This is to prepare for new product launches in the United States and other major markets over the next couple of years.

SINGAPORE: Australia-based stem cell therapy firm Mesoblast has announced plans to accelerate commercial manufacturing operations in Singapore.

This is to prepare for new product launches in the United States and other major markets over the next couple of years.

Its existing operations in Singapore include making stem cell products for clinical trials under its contract with its partner, pharmaceutical company Lonza.

One of its key products still awaiting full approval is Prochymal, which Mesoblast says can help to more than double the survival rate of patients suffering from complications after receiving tissue transplants from donors -- known as graft versus host disease.

The global stem cell market is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 12 per cent between 2011 and 2016 to reach more than S$8 billion by 2016.

Mesoblast said commercial manufacturing requires a much larger capacity and operations must be scaled-up to meet regulatory demands.

Silviu Itescu, chief executive at Mesoblast, said: "We are now in a phase of making more investments in order to get our processes to commercial scale. That anticipates successful commercial launches.

"If we're successful in that over the next 18-24 months, then we're going to leverage the investment in our commercial facilities to be able to build up and prepare for launching of much larger opportunities in cardiovascular medicine, orthopaedics and diseases of immunity and inflammation which would require purpose-built facilities."

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