A Lonza veteran takes the helm of new Swiss CDMO offering manufacturing know-how to startups
CDMOs are booming right now, and one Roche veteran is trying to build the next big one in Europe’s biggest biotech hubs.
Ten23 Health announced its launch as the latest CDMO focused on helping startups and Big Pharma alike develop safe, injectable drugs for patients. CEO Hanns-Christian Mahler is at the Swiss-based company’s helm.
A self-proclaimed pharma guy all his life, Mahler worked at Lonza as the head of drug product services from 2015 until March. He spent 10 years at Roche before that, and five years at Merck prior. Now, after co-founding drug delivery company Kriyabio, he’s eager for the chance to do it all differently.
“I think right now, it’s a wonderful opportunity that we can still do things the way we want it with modern organizational design for people and with modern concentrations on sustainability, and the ability to shake things (up),” he said.
Mahler and his team will be focused on providing a roadmap for companies of all sizes, from the startup that’s just “two guys and a dog in a garage,” as he put it in an interview with Endpoints News Tuesday, or well-established pharmas who can benefit from his team’s hyper-focused expertise.
With its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, ten23 has taken over an operational lab and office building from Elanco, an Indiana-based company that makes medicines for pets and livestock. There’s about 13,123 square feet of space in the building, and the potential to hire at least 150 on-site employees. The company was started in May, and Mahler said that it’s already focused on organic growth as well as looking forward to some mergers and acquisitions. The company isn’t quite ready to talk about those deals yet, but the conversations are happening, Mahler said.
Ten23 wants to be a partner to biotechs that might not know exactly what they need or that certain options even exist. In his time with Roche and Lonza, Mahler has seen scenarios in which drugs had to be diluted, and that could sometimes take hours, which can be dangerous for patients. Many CDMOs require the biotech to know exactly what they need when they come to them, and while that’s great if you’re a well-established company, it can be troublesome for startups.
“I’ve seen so many cases in my past life where, it was a fantastic molecule, the pharmacology is great, but no one had a clue in how to administer it to a patient,” Mahler said. “And then, maybe even worse, they brought it into a clinic and things got messy, and maybe they got stuck with a molecule or couldn’t achieve their milestones and then the company shut down, so it’s really about the risk for attrition of molecules that is not necessary, and then early on design products that are better suited to reach the market.”