Asahi Kasei Medical has unveiled plans to expand its production capacity of Planova filters with a new assembly plant in Nobeoka, Miyazaki, Japan.

The new plant will be designed to realise a smart factory by speeding up the manufacturing automation and digital transformation to enhance quality and production.

Asahi Kasei intends to commence the construction on the new facility in the third quarter of the calendar year 2022. It is expected to be completed in early 2024.

Planova filters are developed specifically for removing viruses from biotherapeutic drug products and are essential in the development and commercial production of new drugs.

According to the company, Covid-19 pandemic has triggered the rapid growth of the biotherapeutics market and increased the urgent demand for Planova filters.

The company claims that it has been making significant efforts to expand its production capacity to meet the growing demands.

Asahi Kasei’s six existing plants, including the spinning plant completed in 2019 in Miyazaki, Japan, are said to be operating efficiently to meet the demand for the Planova N series filter.

The new assembly plant in Miyazaki, Japan, follows the company’s announcement last year to invest in the expansion of the Planova BioEX spinning plant in Oita, Japan.

Asahi Kasei Medical aims to double its capacity for production of hydrophilic polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) hollow-fire membranes for Planova BioEX filters at the Oita site.

The capacity expansion is expected to start in the fourth quarter this year.

In December last year, Asahi Kasei Medical has signed an agreement with ExThera Medical, for exclusive distribution of the latter’s Seraph 100 Microbind Affinity Blood Filter.

Under the terms of the agreement, ExThera Medical and Asahi Kasei Medical will also partner to pursue regulatory approval of Seraph 100 in Japan.

According to the company, Seraph 100 adsorber is the first blood purification device capable of removing a wide range of pathogens from the blood.

In the preliminary clinical studies, the device has reduced mortality and ICU length of stay in patients with severe Covid-19.

Seraph 100 has received the CE mark approval in 2019, to treat bloodstream infections, and was granted FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in 2020, to treat severe Covid-19.