The site is part of a biomanufacturing initiative between GE Healthcare and the Guangzhou Development District (GDD).
Lonza signed a memorandum of understanding with the GDD on December 10, 2018, in which the lease currently under GE will be transferred to Lonza. GE Healthcare has been working with Wego Pharmaceuticals, a China-based company, for single-use product manufacturing.
“We have signed an agreement with GE Healthcare for a lease to buy part of the Guangzhou site that they are developing with the GDD,” Karen Fallen, head of clinical development and manufacturing at Lonza Pharma and Biotech, told us.
Fallen explained that the site is “a combination of a KUBio [platform] for manufacturing, and labs for Lonza’s development platforms. Including [platforms for] cell line construction, process development, cell banking, and pilot labs.”
Lonza and GE will work closely on the design of the 17,000m2 site. In addition to the KUBIo facility, the site will include a 6,500m2 lab space.
The KUBio unit will enable small-scale good manufacturing practice (GMP) manufacturing using GE Healthcare’s single-use biomanufacturing technologies, including 1,000L and 2,000L bioreactors. Lonza’s automation platforms for clinical and early-commercial supply will also be utilized.
“We can’t give financial details but the facility will be operational in 2020 and we expect to employ over 160 staff,” Fallen said.
The new facility will become a strategic base for Lonza in China, with the aim of responding to the growing demand for contract development and manufacturing operations (CDMO) services in the country.
Fallen told us that, “demand for mAbs [monoclonal antibodies] is expected to increase significantly over the coming years.” She further explained that in China a combination of new governmental legislation, changing demographics, strong science, and availability of funding is driving more innovative biological medicines.