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Lonza in two expansion deals

Lonza its to expand its two-year collaboration with Moderna to manufacture the drug substance for Moderna’ COVID-19 vaccine. This will lead to further expansion at its main site in Visp, Switzerland, as will another small molecule complex, which includes a dedicated line for antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) for an unnamed customer.

The expanded collaboration with Moderna provides for the installation of three additional manufacturing lines at Visp, doubling production of the drug substance there. Lonza had already installed three lines since first concluding its ten-year strategic collaboration agreement with Moderna in May 2020 and has since added another in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The new lines will be constructed in Lonza’s Ibex Solutions facility, alongside the existing ones. They are expected to have the same capacity as the existing lines and to be operational in early 2022.

Shortly before this, Lonza announced that it was to build a new, CHF 200 million small molecule complex at Visp, focusing on high potency treatments for cancer. This will cover about 2,000 m2, with six levels of manufacturing space. On completion, it will employ about 200 people.

The first build-out will be a dedicated line for ADC payload molecules for an unnamed, global biopharmaceutical firm, which has made a major capital contribution to it. This should start operations in Q3 2023. Further expansion possibilities are envisaged in drug substance and product, and particle engineering technologies.

Oncology continues to be the leading indication in biopharma and a key driver for highly potent ingredients such as ADCs,” said Maurits Janssen, strategic business development manager for small molecules. “In addition, small molecule oncology therapies require specific technologies. These challenges were specifically taken into account when designing this manufacturing complex.”

Recruitment has already commenced to support both plans in both Switzerland and abroad. The company said that this will “support a wider programme to attract top talent as the global business works to operationalise a series of new capex investments”. In March, Lonza recorded its highest ever global intake of new employees.

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