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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%.

The company continued to maintain operations through the COVID-19 pandemic, adapting working practices accordingly. It reported a “strong levels of demand across modalities and services” including pandemic-related programmes. All parts of LBPN saw growth, with new HPAPI contracts the highlight for the Small Molecules business.

Sales for the Lonza Specialty Ingredients (LSI) segment, meanwhile, were flat, though the margin grew to 19.7%. Results were much more mixed, with a high-single digit increase in sales for Microbial Control Solutions but a fall in sales for Specialty Chemcials. LSI’s ongoing carve-out is nearing completion, with new legal entities being established for each segment. Lonza revealed in its results presentation that it has decided to divest LSI through a sale process, to be initiated in 2H.

During Q2, Lonza established a ten-year strategic collaboration with Moderna on the mRNA platform, the first product from which will be a COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The first batch is due to be delivered from the Lonza Portsmouth in New Hampshire in late July.

In addition, the company had earlier established a centre of excellence for integrated dry powder inhaler (DPI) product development services at Bend, Oregon. This came in response to growing numbers of candidate compounds for pulmonary and nasal delivery.

Finally, in early July, Lonza announced new investments in particle engineering in terms of capacity and capabilities. Non-GMP development capacity has been doubled at the Monteggio micronisation site in Switzerland, with a new glovebox for isolation, upgraded process controls and expanded operator teams.  A new micronisation development wing has also been brought online at the Quakertown, Pennsylvania and a new pharmaceutical spray dryer for development projects at Bend.

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