Lonza adding single-use capacity and 180 jobs at UK mammalian plant

Lonza will increase its mammalian process development and small-scale cGMP manufacturing capabilities through a multi-million pound investment at its Slough, UK site.

Swiss contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) has told BioProcess Insider it is making a “multi-million pound investment” into its facility in Slough, UK.

The site, located around 40km west of London, serves as Lonza’s center of excellence for mammalian biopharmaceutical process development and small-scale cGMP manufacturing, primarily for clinical phases. It also offers a range of analytical services, process scale-up activities and process optimization.

Lonza Biologics in Slough, UK is undergoing a multi-million pound expansion. Image c/o Lonza

“The multi million investment on the site will enable an increase in disposable production capacity which will increase the capability to handle a greater number and range of products,” said spokesperson Constance Ward.

“In addition, we are seeing increasing demand for pre-clinical and clinical development, particularly for a growing number of ‘next generation mAbs’ including ADCs, bispecifics, fragments and constructs.”

According to Lonza’s website, the site employs around 650 staff. To support the expansion, the firm is currently recruiting a further 180 staff, Ward said.

Brexit investments

Following an unprecedented referendum in June 2016, the UK is expected to leave the European Union (EU) on March 29.

The lack of clarity as to the UK’s position after this date has caused upheaval and concerns in the pharma space. Already the impact of the Brexit vote has led to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) moving from London to Amsterdam.

Meanwhile the head of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) Mike Thompson said recently that a no-deal exit from the single market would be catastrophic for pharma, and all its members are stockpiling medicines ahead of such a scenario.

And investment in the UK has been stifled since the referendum. The Anglo-Swedish firm AstraZeneca, for example, implemented an investment freeze in the UK while urging clarity on Britain’s situation.

As such, we asked Lonza how it is preparing for Brexit.

“Lonza is closely monitoring the progress of the Brexit negotiations,” we were told. “Reflecting the recent developments, we have established a working group comprised of the various relevant functions planning for Brexit. Those plans include the scenario of a non-negotiated Brexit ( or ‘hard Brexit’).

“Based on the current information available, we believe that Lonza is well prepared.”

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