Lonza rejigs network to tap ‘huge potential’ of cell and gene therapies

Lonza rejigs network to tap ‘huge potential’ of cell and gene therapies
Lonza - Chemelot Ventures

Note: In 2017 Lonza acquired Pharmacell, a Limburg Ventures portfolio company located at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen. Lonza plans to expand the site and make it the European Center of Excellence for its cell and gene therapy services.

Lonza will combine its cell and gene therapy capabilities through four centres of excellence worldwide, following a number of investments in the space.

The establishment of what Lonza calls ‘Centers of Excellence for Cell and Gene Therapy’ comes after a wave of R&D and investment in the sector by the Swiss contract manufacturing organization (CMO).

“The landscape of modern medicines is constantly evolving, and we can see that more than ever with the huge potential of cell and gene therapies,” Andreas Weiler, head of Emerging Technologies at Lonza told Biopharma-Reporter. “The changes we’re making now are the result of years of dialogue with our customers and regulators, together with research and development that enable us to anticipate the market. Lonza has always invested in what’s coming next with the goal of being one of the world’s leading, integrated, value-added solutions providers along the healthcare continuum.”

The reorganisation will allow Lonza to “span the globe” with its cell and gene therapy services offering, Weiler continued.

“The Lonza sites in Houston, Texas and Geleen/Maastricht, Netherlands, will offer a fully integrated range of cell- and gene-therapy services including process and analytical development, clinical product supply and commercial product supply.”

The firm completed construction late last year of the 100,000 sq. ft. Pearland, Houston facility and has already begun an additional 150,000 sq. ft. expansion. The Dutch facility, meanwhile, was added to Lonza’s network through the acquisition of cell and gene therapy maker PharmaCell last June.

The other two centres are located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Tuas, Singapore, both offering clinical and commercial services.

Further investments
“Lonza is the only CDMO in the Cell and Gene Therapy industry that offers capacity on a global scale and provides our customers with the opportunity to reach the European, US and Asian markets. Lonza sees Cell and Gene Therapy as one of our important pillars for
growth,” Weiler said.

But he said the firm will continue looking for bolt-on technologies to further support the business going forward.

“We are constantly screening the market for any new emerging technologies in the Cell & Gene Therapy field and will certainly evaluate what would be in the interest of our customers.”

Walkersville focus
As part of the restructure, Weiler told us it will end cell and gene therapy operations at its Walkersville, Maryland facility, focusing the site entirely to Loza’s Bioscience Solutions business.

“Lonza is committed to the Media and Endotoxin Testing activities at the Walkersville site and has recently made, and continues to make, investments to upgrade its infrastructure and manufacturing facilities,” he told us.

Walkersville will form part of a network that includes sites in Verviers, France, Cologne, Germany and Durham, North Carolina. “These sites deliver our products to academia and the biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device industries.”