The Swiss supplier announced the investment today, explaining that while antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) are one of the fastest growing segments for the industry manufacturing them is a challenge that involves handling both biologics and toxic small molecule drugs.
Stefan Stoffel, head of Lonza’s chemical manufacturing unit, said: “We have witnessed significant growth in the ADC market in the past 24 months and this investment is necessary to continue to support the growing product demands from our customers.”
The move – which will see Lonza invest some CHF14m (€11.5m) - is one of a number of recent contract manufacturing industry investments in ADC manufacturing capability.
In July last year French contract manufacturing organisation (CMO) Novasep said it would spend €3m ($m) to add ADC capacity at its facility in Le Mans, also citing customer demand.
More recently, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies entered the ADC sector through a partnership with Indian CMO Piramal Healthcare.
Lonza has been producing ADCs at the Visp facility since the mid-2000s when it established a laboratory-scale manufacturing suite and pilot plant.
The decision to double capacity at Visp fits with Lonza’s plan to make the facility more cost competitive by conducting more high value, high margin development and manufacturing work. These efforts have already seen Lonza undertake a number of ADC development and clinical-scale production projects at the Visp plant.
Lonza's suggestion the ADC investment "potential to bring new job opportunities across all functions in Visp" contrasts with the job cuts the firm carried out at the facility late last year.