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Lonza to expand microbial manufacturing plant in Switzerland

| By Mary Bailey

Lonza AG (Basel, Switzerland) announced an expansion to the company’s microbial manufacturing facility in Visp, Switzerland. The new facility will provide mid-scale commercial manufacturing to multiple customers and in particular, serve the growing needs of Servier, an independent international pharmaceutical company and long-term Lonza partner.

Servier and Lonza have recently signed a long-term extension to the manufacturing agreement for L-asparaginase,  produced at Lonza since 2009. The extension and expansion of the collaboration will provide Servier with the additional capacity required to provide treatment to many more patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer of the white blood cells. Servier intends to expand access to asparaginase-based multi-agent chemotherapeutic regimens, as ALL continues to be the most common type of cancer (~75%) among children diagnosed with leukemia.1

The new facility will be the sixth to be housed in Lonza’s new biopark in Visp, Switzerland, currently under construction. Lonza launched Ibex Solutions in 2018 to offer custom-tailored manufacturing solutions across a broad range of technologies while minimizing time to market with pre-built shells and infrastructure. The new mid-scale (3,000L) microbial facility will tap into existing central utilities and labs and will complement the existing small-scale (1,000L) and large-scale (15,000L) assets in Visp. The facility is expected to be operational in the second half of 2022 and Lonza expects to add 100 new staff to the existing, highly-experienced microbial team.

Traditionally used for producing hormones, enzymes and some vaccines, microbial fermentation is becoming increasingly attractive for new molecular formats that do not need human glycosylation given the higher yields and shorter production timelines. For example, many antibody fragments, as well as plasmid DNA, can be produced in microbial systems.