ALSA latest VC firm to contract Lonza to service its portfolio

Lonza says small to mid-sized companies represent the bulk of its customers as it adds ALSA Ventures’ biopharma portfolio to its client list.

European biotech investment firm ALSA has contracted Lonza to help develop and manufacture molecules within its biologics and small molecule company portfolio.

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The deal, financials of which have not been divulged, will see ALSA’s portfolio companies – which include Promatix, Montis Biosciences, Epsilogen, and Oxford BioTherapeutics – leverage Lonza’s development and manufacturing services and network, along with its regulatory competence expertise.

“We are excited to kick off our collaboration with ALSA Ventures,” said Pnina Weitz, global head of Venture Capital Business Development and Relationship Management at Lonza. “We look forward to supporting the dynamic relationships of venture capital firms and the pioneering biotech companies under their wings.”

She told BioProcess Insider the deal with ALSA is just the latest in a string of contracts with investment firms for the Swiss contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO).

“Lonza collaborates with several venture capital firms to help manufacture their portfolio companies’ innovative biologic therapeutics, cell and gene therapies and small molecule-based drug candidates.

“Earlier this year, we announced the expansion of our collaboration with Forbion and BioGeneration Ventures to manufacture small and large molecules for some of their portfolio companies. Similarly, in 2021, we signed a framework agreement with Bioqube Ventures to help manufacture and commercialize both small molecules and biologics treatment options for their portfolio companies.”

Furthermore, the advent of portfolio companies as clients is a natural step as emerging and small biotech companies, make up approximately 80% of the total global drug development pipeline, according to Weitz.

“Often, they aim to create treatments for rare medical conditions or ailments that are historically difficult to treat, such as certain cancers. An increasing number of these companies want to take their molecule to market but lack the in-house expertise to do so. As a result, they often consider outsourcing,” she said.

“The majority of Lonza’s customers are represented by small to mid-sized companies. If we zoom in, we provide most of them with early development services, with small biotech companies amounting to about 90 percent of our early development customers.

“This biopharma segment is looking for a CDMO to address their specific needs, such as providing free capacity, experience with fulfilling regulatory requirements, procurement power, legal frameworks, and speed without added risk. These small companies also require a well-established offering and flexible funding milestones that add value at every development stage.”