Lonza invests in exosome category, acquires development and manufacturing capabilities

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Meletios Verras
© GettyImages/Meletios Verras

Related tags Exosomes metabolites genetic information Cell

Lonza has been investing in developing exosome manufacturing and characterization technologies for the past five years, and this week it ramped up its focus on that category by acquiring two sites.

The Swiss company has bought out Codiak Bioscience’s exosome manufacturing site in the US and Exosomics’ service unit in Italy.

The Exosomics deal includes its service team, service assets and laboratories in Siena. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Codiak will retain its pipeline of therapeutic candidates as well as its exosome engineering and drug-loading technologies. Codiak will receive, as part of the deal, around $65m of cGMP manufacturing services in kind. The companies will also establish a Center of Excellence for the development of exosome manufacturing technologies.

Exosomes are extracellular vesicles excreted by cells into the surrounding fluids that serve as a form of cell-to-cell communication. Cells can exchange metabolites, genetic information, and proteins through exosomes. It is a category is expected to grow significantly in the next decade, according to the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO).

Lonza said it has been actively developing novel characterization techniques based on single-particle analysis that are currently being implemented into the exosomes offering.  

Senthil Ramaswamy, executive director of cell and gene technologies, R&D, Lonza, said the deals will help advance exosome development and manufacturing at the company.

“Exosomes represent an exciting new therapy and delivery platform that is gaining a lot of interest in its potential.

“Codiak has one of the most advanced pipelines of exosome-based therapies in the world and has developed a high productivity perfusion-based exosome manufacturing process. Lonza will gain worldwide access to their manufacturing IP and acquire their clinical manufacturing facility and will be able to provide services to third parties.

“Exosomics is a company that develops advanced analytics and methods to isolate and characterize exosomes. In 2017, Lonza invested in the company and the investment supported the development of an operational service unit that will be acquired with the deal.”

Upstream and downstream processing capabilities

Both acquisitions are beneficial to the broader market, he said.

“We intend to put forward a platform that will span comprehensive upstream and downstream processing capabilities and a characterization toolbox necessary for analytics and purification. This offering will accelerate and drive innovation across the most innovative modalities we work with at Lonza,”​ he told BioPharma-Reporter.

As a result of the membrane bound structure of exosomes, they can be loaded with various types of cargo of different sizes: small therapeutic molecules or even proteins and DNA/RNA, he explained

“Exosomes can be loaded with cargo and targeted to specific cells and tissues by utilizing their unique biochemical labeling on the surface – these surface markers can be understood as postal codes, allowing the precise delivery of the cargo (package) to a recipient cell. This characteristic can significantly reduce the off-target activity of their cargo and related side effects,” ​said the Lonza executive.

The acquisitions will allow Lonza to leverage its development and manufacturing expertise in cell and gene therapies, he added. “Combined with the manufacturing and characterization technology, IP, capabilities, and experienced talent obtained through these acquisitions, Lonza will create a leading exosome offering that will benefit the broader cell and gene market.“​ 

BioPharma-Reporter is running a free to access webinar​ on December 1 exploring the hurdles that exist to bringing cell and gene therapy mainstream. 

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