Flexible friend: Sanofi talks capacity benefits of Lonza JV

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

Sharing a facility with a CMO gives Sanofi the flexibility to adjust biomanufacturing capacity according to its needs, says its SVP for biologics.

Mergers, collaborations and partnerships are key components of Sanofi’s biologics strategy, said senior vice president and global head of Sanofi’s biologics platform Brendan O’Callaghan.

“Sanofi is transforming from being a predominantly small molecule-focused firm, to biologics based,” ​Callaghan told delegates at the BioPharma Ambition Conference last month.

As part of this, the French drugmaker announced plans​ to construct a large-scale mammalian cell culture manufacturing site in Visp, Switzerland, in February last year in a partnership with contract manufacturing organisation (CMO) Lonza.

O’Callaghan told delegates Sanofi is sharing the capital investment with the CMO, along with the plant utilisation, allowing the flexibility to manufacture biologic products, precise volumes of which can be difficult to forecast.

“If we don’t need it, Lonza being a CMO can market that capacity on the open market.”

Conversely, if Sanofi requires additional capacity, it will work with Lonza to make use of any excess they may have – or indeed work with them to expand the modular facility, and add additional capacity at a small, incremental cost.

The facility is expected to be completed by 2020.

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