Lonza to expand microbial services at Swiss facility

The expansion at its Visp, Switzerland facility will support increased capacity of development services targeting microbial-derived proteins, says Lonza.

The expansion will see Swiss contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) Lonza up its microbial development laboratories at its Visp site by 50% as part of the firm’s focus on increasing its microbial service offerings.

The investment, of which financial details have not been disclosed, will include the installation of a pilot suite with a 50 L fermenter and downstream equipment to produce non-GMP product suitable for toxicology and formulation studies.

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According to Lonza, the pilot facility will improve its internal technology transfer strategy and capacity by offering a primary recovery scale.

“Our microbial services can support a diverse pool of candidates and provide an offering for customers working with smaller and complex next-generation molecules,” Shiva Khalafpour, vice president, head of Microbial Business Unit, Lonza told BioProcess Insider.

“We constantly assess our assets and invest in developing and installing new capacity and technology to meet the market demand in biologics; with interest in microbial fermentation increasing globally, we are expanding the microbial services to meet the expected customer demand.”

According to the firm, the expanded laboratory capacity will be aligned with Lonza’s available manufacturing capacity, which includes support of the added mid-scale assets that will come online in 2022.

Additionally, the CDMO’s expanded development services will be available in Q4 2021.

Microbial vs mammalian

“Our pipeline is heterogeneous, which reflects the microbial biopharmaceutical market and includes next-generation molecules such as antibody fragments/antibody mimetics, bioconjugated biotherapeutics such as pegylated proteins and polysaccharide-conjugated vaccines, enzymes, fusion proteins and other therapeutic recombinant proteins,” Khalafpour said.

However, Khalafpour told us Lonza has “significantly more mammalian assets and sites in our manufacturing network. Therefore, our pipeline has more mammalian molecules than microbial-derived ones. If we exclude monoclonals, the pipeline is 2/3 mammalian and 1/3 microbial molecules.”

Lonza manufactures mammalian-derived biopharmaceuticals in various locations, including Slough, UK, Hayward, US, Guangzhou, China, Portsmouth, US, Porrino, Spain, Tuas, Singapore, and Visp, Switzerland.

To service the expansion at its Visp plant, the CDMO has hired and will continue to employ staff to support the increase of its microbial offerings and additional projects.

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