Amid a busy year and new leadership, Lonza looks to build bioconjugates capacity with Swiss expansion set for 2022
The year 2020 has been busy for contract manufacturers, a trend which is holding strong as an unprecedented 12 months draw to a close. Swiss CDMO Lonza, one of the biggest players in the field and under the recent leadership of Roche vet Pierre-Alain Ruffieux, has been at the forefront of that outsourcing boom, and now it’s looking to keep on growing for what could be an even busier future.
Buoyed by deals to produce 1 billion worldwide doses of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, Lonza announced an expansion Monday that will increase its production capacity 30% by the first half of 2022.
Focused on bioconjugation—a process that can develop more complex protein therapeutics—Lonza will add a roughly 16,100-square-foot expansion to its facility in Visp, Switzerland, for both clinical and commercial supply. The company said it will also construct a 53,800-square-foot support building to increase storage and other supporting infrastructure, with the hope of making client workflow more flexible and efficient.
The cost of the expansions was not provided.
“The latest investment in additional bioconjugation development and manufacturing capacity is well aligned with other current investments in monoclonal antibodies and small molecules within the Lonza network,” Iwan Bertholjotti, Lonza’s director of commercial development bioconjugates, said in a press release. “Together they further extend our offer of a reliable and integrated supply solution for an expanding class of innovative therapies.”
Lonza’s expansion efforts come amid a year of change at the biotech. In June, after an extended headhunting search, the company named former Roche executive Pierre-Alain Ruffieux as CEO. Ruffieux paints himself as a re-inventor of drug manufacturing processes, which seemed to fit what Lonza was seeking — as it has recently designated new growth areas, invested in new facilities and revamping a struggling special ingredients division.
Since 2006, Lonza has produced over 600 cGMP batches of bioconjugated products for over 60 different projects.
All signs point to Lonza as a big player in the CDMO arena moving forward. Just in December, for example, the company has announced six different manufacturing and development collaborations with various biotech outfits — not to mention the continued impact Lonza will have on the production of Covid-19 vaccines.