Manufacturing roundup: Lonza collaborates with a VC in Israel; Piramal updates one facility while opening a new one
The Swiss CDMO powerhouse Lonza is no stranger to Israel, but a recent collaboration has cemented a new hold over biotech in the region.
According to the company, Lonza and the Israel Biotech Fund, a venture fund investing in Israeli and Israeli-related biotech companies, announced a two-year framework agreement.
The deal aims to provide accelerated timelines for the development and manufacture of biologics and small molecules. Lonza will add support to the IBF by working to de-risk and provide development and manufacturing services to the IBF’s portfolio companies. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The IBF will in turn provide Lonza with access to IBF’s portfolio companies and broad network in the biotech industry in Israel.
The agreement will try to broaden the scope of services provided by Lonza to pharmaceutical companies in the Israeli biotech ecosystem.
Pnina Weitz, Lonza’s global head of venture capital business development and relationship management, noted that despite Israel’s size, the country had over 1,750 life science companies active at the end of 2020, many of which are start-ups and small biotech companies.
“If these companies can retain investor interest and bring their therapeutics to later stages, it can position them for acquisition or even taking their molecules to market themselves – an option more startups are choosing due to increased funding,” Weitz said in an email to Endpoints News.
Lonza isn’t the only big player to start working with the IBF. In 2021, Merck, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Teva and Amazon teamed up to launch a new incubator with the IBF for startups walking the line between AI and drug development. Lonza has been active in the region previously country as, in 2018, the CDMO opened a 10,000-square-foot innovation center in Haifa that is desgined to work with academia and early stage companies.
Indian drug manufacturer opens and updates several facilities across the globe
The Indian drug manufacturer Piramal Pharma Solutions has been busy for the past few days.
First, a new production block came online at the company’s drug product site in Pithampur, India, last Tuesday.
The new production area can now handle batch sizes of 150 to 600 kilograms, allowing the site’s capacity to produce OSD form drug products. According to the company, the site was funded as part of an $11 million capital investment by Piramal.
The Pithampur site’s capacity has now increased from 3 billion doses to 4.5 billion doses and will employ approximately 600 workers. The site will aim to supply drug products to biotech and pharma companies globally, and the site has been inspected by a host of regulatory agencies including the FDA.
Now the manufacturer has also opened a new API plant in Aurora, Ontario, Canada. The new plant was constructed as part of a CAD 30 million ($23 million) capital investment in its Aurora site. The site has more than 10,000 square-feet of new manufacturing space and includes two new reactor suites with additional filtration and drying capabilities.
The site has also been inspected by regulators in the US, UK and Japan.
Piramal has already been on a tear this year. In January, the CDMO announced plans to invest millions to create a high-throughput screening facility to enhance its in vitro biology capabilities at its drug discovery site in Ahmedabad, India. The new expansion is scheduled to go live in Q3 of this year.