Swiss CDMO Lonza Group has announced plans to expand manufacturing at its sites in Visp, Switzerland and Portsmouth, New Hampshire in the US, committing $950 million to the projects. The almost $1 billion investment will specifically go towards expanding the company’s mammalian drug substance manufacturing facilities at the sites.
The investment is projected to create 550 jobs across the two sites. Lonza says it’s supported by a strong pipeline and underlines the company’s continuing commitment to serving customers across modalities and scales.
According to the company, $715 million of the investment will go towards expanding Lonza’s existing Visp facility where Lonza aims to increase large-scale biologics manufacturing capacity to meet customer demand in the contract manufacturing space. The rest will go to constructing a new next-generation facility in Portsmouth to support late-phase clinical and commercial development and manufacturing. Lonza expects the facility will be up and running in 2024 and has already begun recruitment to bring on more than 300 new employees.
Lonza’s mission is to facilitate the development of treatments that prevent illness, support healthier lifestyles and create a healthy environment through scientific innovation and manufacturing technology. The company was founded in Switzerland in 1897 and operates 120 sites and offices in more than 35 different countries.
Recognizing the impact of the pandemic on manufacturing and global supply chains in the production and delivery of drugs and vaccines for COVID-19, Lonza CEO Pierre-Alain Ruffieux said the company decided to take action to expand its manufacturing rosters.
“In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed the spotlight on supply chains and the critical role CDMOs play in ensuring an adequate supply of medicines,” said Ruffieux in a news release from Lonza.
In its own pandemic efforts, Lonza was among the first to offer up assistance in the fight against COVID-19 as it agreed to help produce Moderna’s mRNA-based shot last May. The company is set to increase drug substance production for Moderna’s vaccine by two-fold at its Visp plant.
Lonza Group has two segments, one of which is Lonzo Pharma, Biotech & Nutrition, which provides services and products from early phase discovery to custom development and manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients and innovative dosage forms for the pharma and health and nutrition industries. The second is Lonza Specialty Ingredients which focuses on microbial control for personal care as well as protection against mold and other pathogens in homes, schools, workplaces and other environments. It also offers custom development and manufacturing of specialty chemicals and composites to support the electronics, aerospace, food and agrochemical industries.
At its site in Visp, Switzerland, Lonza will erect a new 27,500 m2 large-scale mammalian drug substance plant that will be fitted with six 20,000-liter bioreactors to help the company meet increasing market demands of large-scale biologics production. Lonza says the state-of-the-art, high throughput facility will include perfusion capabilities and is designed to support high titer processes and accommodate the next generation of mammalian biologics.
The expansion will complement the existing large-scale global network at Lonza sites in Tuas, Singapore; Portsmouth, US; and Porriño, Spain.
At the Portsmouth facility, Lonza plans to add capacity for up to eight 2,000 L single-use bioreactors over an area of 3,000 m2. This will enhance the facility’s capacity to handle projects from Phase III through to commercial-stage manufacturing for small- to mid-volume products. This will be achieved through the company’s state-of-the-art perfusion, purification and automation-based technologies.
Lonza expects the expanded Portsmouth operations to be up and running in 2023 and plans to hire 250 people to work at the plant.
The new expansions build on previous investments by the company into its mammalian mid-scale capacity, development services and drug product services. This so it can better enable customers to bring drugs to market faster, meet customers’ specific needs and offer end-to-end solutions across multiple modalities and scales, says Lonza.
“The expansion of both our large-scale and small-scale manufacturing capacity will ensure Lonza continues to deliver industry-leading contract manufacturing services that will support our customers’ needs in the medium and long term,” said Ruffieux.