Lonza bags Codiak’s exosome plant in $65m deal

Lonza has acquired an exosome manufacturing facility in Lexington, Massachusetts from Codiak BioSciences, which will keep its pipeline of therapeutic candidates.

“Exosomes are extracellular vesicles excreted by cells into the surrounding fluids with a diameter between 30 and 150 nanometers,” Senthil Ramaswamy, executive director of Cell and Gene Technologies R&D, Lonza told us.

“They represent a form of cell-to-cell communication. Cells can exchange metabolites, genetic information, and proteins through exosomes. The membrane-bound structure of exosomes allows for loading with various therapeutic cargos. Unique biochemical labeling on the surface can allow targeting specific cells or tissues to deliver their cargo.”

Codiak’s Lexington, MA facility. Image c/o Lonza

The deal sees contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) Lonza acquire Codiak’s exosome plant in Lexington, as well as gain access and sub-licensable rights to its perfusion-based process for exosome manufacturing.

According to the CDMO, Codiak has one of the most advanced pipelines of exosome-based therapies and through acquiring its clinical manufacturing plant, Lonza will be able to provide services to third parties and “create a leading exosome offering that will benefit the broader cell and gene market,” said Ramaswamy.

Together the firms will establish what Lonza has said is a “Center of Excellence” for the development of exosome manufacturing technologies, which will use the expertise of both companies to advance developments in production, analytics, and purification while providing Lonza clients with exosome manufacturing services.

Under the terms of the agreement,Codiak will retain its pipeline of therapeutic candidates and its exosome drug-loading technologies and engineering, and will receive $65 million of “in-kind” manufacturing services from Lonza

Lonza did not disclose the number of employees it will gain through the acquisition of Codiak but Ramaswamy told this publication it would “offer roles to all employees at the respective acquired sites.”

Expanding exosomes

Additionally, Lonza has acquired an operational service unit in Siena, Italy from Exosomics a firm that develops advanced analytics and methods to isolate and characterize exosomes.

The CDMO has been a minority shareholder of Exosomics since 2017 and will continue to be a shareholder after the acquisition of the unit has closed. The firm claim the unit will expand its exosomes service offerings.

“Generally speaking, both acquisitions are beneficial to the broader market. We intend to put forward a platform that will span comprehensive upstream and downstream processing capabilities as well as a characterization toolbox necessary for analytics and purification. This offering will accelerate and drive innovation across the most innovative modalities we work with at Lonza,” said Ramaswamy.

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