Lonza invests in microbial development capabilities in Switzerland

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Richard Drury
© GettyImages/Richard Drury

Related tags microbial systems antibody fragments plasmid DNA Lonza

To further support the increasing number of pharma companies investing in microbials, Lonza is expanding its microbial development laboratories at its Visp, Switzerland site by 50%.

It said new throughput equipment and automation processes will drive efficiency and enhance project delivery.

As microbial expression systems demand complex manufacturing processes, these expanded development services will strengthen upstream, downstream and process analytics support for new projects, reported the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO).

Microbial-derived pipeline is growing

Traditionally used for producing hormones, enzymes and some vaccines, microbial fermentation is becoming increasingly attractive for new molecular formats that do not need human glycosylation given the higher yields and shorter production timelines. Many antibody fragments, as well as plasmid DNA, can be produced in microbial systems.

“The microbial-derived pipeline is growing at a healthy rate driven by an increase in alternatives to antibodies such as nanobodies, designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins), single-chain antibodies, etc.

“For some of these molecules, microbial systems show better and more efficient productivity, which is increasing the trend toward outsourcing as customers need to rely on key microbial expertise.

“Expanding our development laboratories will enable us to support new customers with the development and manufacture of these molecules and other recombinant proteins for both clinical and commercial projects,” ​said Shiva Khalafpour, vice president, head of microbial business unit, Lonza.

Upstream and downstream process support

The expanded development services will be available in Q4 2021

The automation upgrades include three liquid handling workstations and other enabling equipment dedicated to upstream and downstream process development as well analytical method development.  This high throughput capability will accelerate and enhance customer process data generation, said the Swiss group.

The expansion also sees the installation of a dedicated pilot suite with a 50L fermenter and corresponding downstream equipment, which will generate non-GMP product suitable for formulation and toxicology studies.

The additional laboratory capacity will be aligned with available manufacturing capacity, said Lonza.

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