Union City may get bio-tech firm that makes cancer drug

A Seattle-based biotechnology company plans to manufacture a cancer-fighting drug at a plant in Union City, but the number of jobs the move brings will depend on FDA approval of the new pharmaceutical.

Dendreon Corp. is building the $70 million plant at the Majestic Airport Center in south Fulton County, Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office announced late Monday. The 160,000-square-foot plant will produce Provenge, a drug for men with advanced prostate cancer.

“Our state’s world-class health care institutions and hospitals enable companies like Dendreon to conduct clinical research and engage in product development while benefiting from the vast scientific resources that Georgia has to offer,” Perdue said in a release.

The number of jobs this move will create will depend on FDA approval of Provenge, but the governor’s office said it could mean several hundred new biotech jobs in the region.

“If it receives approval, it will be manufactured on a large scale,” which will require large staffing, said Alexandra Bowie, a spokeswoman for Dendreon Corp.

She said the licensing application for the drug would be submitted in the fourth quarter. She did not know how quickly a decision would be made.

“The FDA determines that timeline,” she said.

Dendreon said in a release it will have more details on the deal during an upcoming meeting with analysts in New York City.

On its Web site, Dendreon says its mission is “engineering and cell processing to produce Active Cellular Immunotherapy (ACI) product candidates designed to stimulate an immune response. ACI holds promise because it may provide patients with a meaningful clinical benefit, such as survival, combined with low toxicity.”

If approved, Provenge will be launched from Dendreon’s facility in Morris Plains, N.J., with manufacturing capacity supported by its Union City plant and one in California.