At present the Tuas facility houses 86,500L of stainless steel bioreactor capacity – including four 20,000L stirred fermenters. Last October Lonza announced it was making an undisclosed investment in single-use technology for mammalian manufacturing at the site.
And speaking in Tokyo this week, SVP of global sales Cindy Reiss-Clark revealed more details:
“We are adding up to four by 2,000L single-use bioreactors, with the first two being on line in early 2018,” she told delegates at the first BioPharma Expo, being held alongside Interphex Japan. “This expansion is supporting the commercialisation strategies [of our customers] which require small to mid-scale [bioproduction].”
She added one of the first customers to leverage the new technologies in Singapore would be Tracon Pharmaceuticals, a Californian-based oncology-focused firm which entered into a long-term agreement for commercial production of its lead candidate TRC105 in February this year.
Lonza “will transfer the process to the 2,000L[line] in Singapore,” Reiss-Clark said, while providing ongoing clinical support for the antibody which has orphan drug designation for the treatment of soft tissue sarcoma.
Cell and gene therapy space
She also spoke about Lonza’s collaboration with Nikon CeLL innovation – part of the Nikon Corporation. The firms are developing a cell and gene manufacturing services business in Japan.
The partnership was first announced in May 2015 and a GMP facility in Tokyo “is on track and will be ready in 2018,” according to Reiss-Clark.
The Singapore site has cell and gene therapy capabilities but this latest project will strengthen Lonza’s presence in Asia.
The firm recently acquired European cell and gene therapy maker PharmaCell in a deal that a spokesperson told this publication places Lonza as the “leading contract development and manufacturing organisation offering an international cell and gene therapy manufacturing network, spanning the US, Europe and Asia.”