Pharma Focus Asia

Lonza to Expand Microbial Development Laboratories

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Lonza, a global manufacturing partner to the pharma, biotech and nutrition industries, today announced it has invested in additional microbial development capabilities in Switzerland. The investment will support increased capacity of development services targeting microbial-derived proteins with expanded laboratory space and equipment to be in use by the end of 2021.

The current extension will support new projects in Lonza’s existing manufacturing assets as well as the previously announced mid-scale microbial capacity expansion.  As microbial expression systems demand complex manufacturing processes, expanded development services will strengthen upstream, downstream and process analytics support for these new projects.  

Shiva Khalafpour, Vice President, Head of Microbial Business Unit, Lonza, commented: “The microbial-derived pipeline is growing at a healthy rate driven by an increase in alternatives to antibodies such as nanobodies, designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins), single-chain antibodies, etc. For some of these molecules, microbial systems show better and more efficient productivities, which is increasing the trend toward outsourcing as customers need to rely on key microbial expertise. Expanding our development laboratories will enable us to support new customers with the development and manufacture of these molecules and other recombinant proteins for both clinical and commercial projects.”

New development capacity will consolidate the microbial footprint at the Visp site and add new high throughput equipment and automation processes to drive efficiency and project delivery. The automation upgrades include three liquid handling workstations and other enabling equipment dedicated to upstream and downstream process development as well analytical method development.  This high throughput capability will accelerate and enhance customer process data generation.

The expansion includes the installation of a dedicated pilot suite with a 50L fermenter and corresponding downstream equipment, which will generate non-GMP product suitable for formulation and toxicology studies. In addition, the pilot facility will enhance our internal technology transfer strategy and capability by providing a representative primary recovery scale.

The additional laboratory capacity will be aligned with available manufacturing capacity, including support of the new mid-scale assets, which will come online in 2022.

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