Lonza's stem cell production insight a boon to innovation and business

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs) - photo c/o Lonza
induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs) - photo c/o Lonza

Related tags Stem cell Lonza

Investments in manufacturing and science have left Lonza well placed to cope with skyrocketing demand for stem cell manufacturing, the CMO says.

Drugmakers rarely reveal their production secrets, especially when it comes to complex - and competitive - bioprocessing operations.

So when Swiss-based contract manufacturing organisation (CMO) Lonza published a paper in the Stem Cell Report Journal last week​ giving industry a comprehensive insight into the cGMP manufacture of human induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs), we wanted to know more.

iPSCs provide “an ethical solution to stem cell research” ​and “will bring a true paradigm shift for how we will treat diseases in the future,” ​Lonza’s head of Emerging Technologies Andreas Weiler told this publication.

Therefore, “Lonza wanted to provide open access to these methods in order to help the researchers and scientists in the regenerative medicine field take this revolutionary technology forward. We want to create an environment that enables collaborative innovation around iPSCs.”

There is a commercial upside to publishing such details, Weiler admitted, saying it will eventually drive more business for Lonza.

“As more research gets translated to the clinic, we, the industry, the researchers, and patients will all benefit. Lonza sees this as a long-term investment and remains committed to this field.”

Increased demand

iPSCs were discovered in 2006 by Shinya Yamanaka who went on to win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2012. Since then Lonza has seen a significant increase in demand for stem cell manufacturing, Weiler told us.

“There has been more and more interest in using iPSC cells for treating different diseases. There is a big shift in the awareness of regenerative medicine in general, and of course some of this is fueled by investor interest,”​ he said.

“However, we believe some of this interest is also a result of the recent improvements in the products’ manufacturing technologies, such as bioreactors. Lonza is also aware of new manufacturing technologies currently being developed for patient-specific cell products.”

The CMO kickstarted its cell therapy services at its Walkersville, Maryland plant six years ago with a $26m expansion​, and has since invested in a number of bioprocessing technologies​ at the site.

“Big funding, coupled with good science, is a recipe for success in our field.”

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