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Lonza to sell Specialty Ingredients business

Following a long period of speculation, Lonza has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Lonza Specialty Ingredients (LSI) business to private equity firms Bain Capital and Cinven for CHF 4.2 billion in order to focus entirely on healthcare. The deal is expected to close in 2H, subject to customary closing conditions.

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.

Croda, Novasep part of key COVID vaccines

Both Croda International and Novasep are involved in some of the vaccines nearing approval for use in the treatment of COVID-19 it has emerged. This follows on from many other announcements of development agreements involving other fine chemical companies earlier in the year.

Lonza moves further into ADCs

Lonza has opened the first of two manufacturing suites at its main site in Visp, Switzerland, for the manufacture of antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) linkers or payloads. This came shortly after an unrelated deal to manufacture antibodies to treat COVID-19 for AstraZeneca and the arrival of a new CEO with a Big Pharma background.

More CDMOs in COVID-19 deals

The ongoing race to develop the first effective vaccines for the treatment of COVID-19 continues to generate manufacturing and development agreements between pharmaceutical giants, biotechs and CDMOs.

Most recently, Sterling Pharma Solutions agreed to carry out final purification of drug product for Moleculin Biotech’s WP1122 drug candidate from its site in Cary, North Carolina. Moleculin is about to submit an IND for this to the FDA and wanted a reliable source of supply in the US.

Pharma continues to drive Lonza growth

Lonza has reported 7.7% growth in sales in constant currency terms during 1H 2020 to CHF 3,074 million, with a core EBITDA margin of 29.1%. This, as in 2019, was largely driven by the Lonza Pharma Biotech & Nutrition (LBPN) segment, which had 10.8%3 sales growth and a margin of 34.1%.

Change at the top for CDMOs

Two of the major global pharmaceutical CDMOs, Lonza and Alcami, have announced the appointments of new CEOs in early June. There have also been changes in senior positions at Corden Pharma and, imminently, at Cambrex.

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