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Further pharma investment at Lonza

Lonza has recently announced three specific investments in the pharma sector in recent weeks. It will build two new customer-dedicated conjugation suites for antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) at Visp, Switzerland, while adding particle engineering and drug product development at two sites in the US.

The ADCs investment is part of strategic collaboration for bioconjugation with an unnamed global biopharma company. The high throughput bioconjugation suites will be built out within a pre-existing shell, covering 1500 m2 of active manufacturing space and linked to established QC labs, logistics and other central services.

The suites will be able to handle highly potent materials for cancer therapies and will initially manufacture two therapies. Operations are expected to start from the end of 2022, with around 20 staff working there.

This follows the recent opening first of two manufacturing suites at Visp for the manufacture of ADC linkers or payloads. The facility is already manufacturing at commercial scale for a biopharmaceutical customer, following successful validation. It can handle compounds with OELs down to 1 ng/m3.

The company said at the time that the new suites will boost its capabilities “to provide fully scalable HPAPI and ADC solutions from lab to commercialisation, supporting the accelerated timelines that many drug programmes in this category require”. The second suite will become available in early 2021.

Lonza has also announced a “significant investment” to expand its particle engineering and drug product capabilities at Bend, Oregon, in response to growing general demand. The first suite of 11 is due online this month, adding to early-phase spray-drying, tabletting and encapsulation capabilities.

The whole facility will be completed in May 2022 and will also feature site spray-drying, hot melt extrusion and melt-spray-congeal processing. Non-cGMP capability for formulation and process development will also be expanded with one new suite.

Finally, Lonza will make announced additional investments in its oral drug product development and manufacturing capabilities at Tampa, Florida, where it has already spent $15 million to expand and upgrade it over the past two years.

This includes upgrading the laboratories to handle highly potent material handling, new Gerteis roller compaction equipment incorporating high containment, for dry granulation processing. The latter, Lonza said, complements its HPAPI processing capabilities at Visp, which has one of the world’s largest capacities for HPAPI development and manufacturing.

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