Lonza plugs EU cell and gene therapy manufacturing gap through PharmaCell buy

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Image: iStock/autokalle
Image: iStock/autokalle

Related tags Gene therapy Gene

The acquisition of Dutch commercial cell and gene therapy maker PharmaCell places Lonza as the leading CDMO in the space, the firm says.

The deal sees Switzerland-headquartered contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) add the assets and staff of PharmaCell to strengthen its cell and gene therapy offerings.

“We had a manufacturing gap in the European market, especially related to products requiring regional manufacturing like the new immunotherapy products,”​ Andreas Weiler, head of Emerging Technologies at Lonza, told Biopharma-Reporter. “The acquisition of PharmaCell helps bridge that gap.”

Financials details were not divulged but the deal sees Lonza add a 1,400m2​ multiple product facility in Maastricht, The Netherlands and a 4,800m2​ cell therapy manufacturing plant nearby in Geleen to its personalised medicine manufacturing network.

Lonza’s current cell and gene therapy capabilities are located in Tuas, Singapore and at its site in Walkersville, Maryland (which recently received a US FDA warning letter​). The CDMO is also constructing a facility​ set to open this year at its Houston, Texas site with 14,000m2​ of space dedicated to cell and gene therapy manufacturing.

And with the addition of PharmaCell, “Lonza is now the leading contract development and manufacturing organisation offering an international cell and gene therapy manufacturing network, spanning the US, Europe and Asia,” ​Weiler told us.

PharmaCell

The European CDMO was targeted due to its expertise in autologous products, where cells and genes are taken, engineered and then placed back into the patient. This complements our current allogeneic cell manufacturing offerings,” ​Weiler said.

PharmaCell has won a number of contracts to make both clinical and commercial volumes of such therapies, including deals with Orchard Therapeutics​ and Lion Biotech​, both announced this year.

The firm also made European supply of Dendreon’s prostate cancer therapy Provenge (Sipuleucel-T)​ until Dendreon’s buyer Valeant withdrew the Marketing Authorisation in 2015.

Last year, the firm reported sales of around €11m ($12.3m).

Weiler said Lonza’s acquisition will have no impact to current contracts. “PharmaCell is now part of Lonza and the new legal entity name is Lonza Netherlands, B.V. The name change has no impact on existing contracts.”

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