Initially, Richter acquired in 2007 a family owned R&D and manufacturing site headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, establishing with Helm AG a joint venture business with Richter as the majority shareholder. Richter Helm Biologics comprises a plant able to perform the manufacturing of bacterial and yeast cell based proteins, a pilot plant and a linked analytical and R&D laboratory unit.
A much larger scale investment followed with the construction in Budapest of a pilot plant and a laboratory to enable the development of biologics based on mammalian cell expression. This was complemented with a totally new manufacturing unit built in the industrial park of Debrecen in Eastern Hungary. These assets enable development in Budapest and manufacture in Debrecen of biological drugs based on mammalian cells fermentation.
When selecting candidate products Richter proceeded very carefully, focusing on certain therapeutic areas, notably rheumatology, immunology and osteoporosis. These areas are considered to be among the highest growth rate therapeutic segments.
As is customary when it comes to relatively higher risk or significantly larger investments, Richter identified strategic alliances with companies similarly interested in biosimilars in order to share both risks and costs. In this endeavour Richter has concluded such agreements, one with Mochida for the Japanese market, one with STADA based in Germany. Further partners are sought with the aim of establishing joint product development activities.