Lonza to lend manufacturing expertise and knowledge to Israeli biotechs

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Paper Boat Creative
© GettyImages/Paper Boat Creative

Related tags Lonza Biologics Antibody drug conjugates israel

Lonza has entered into a two-year agreement with Israel Biotech Fund (IBF) to support its portfolio of biotech companies.

The Swiss CDMO outlined how it will add value to IBF through pre-investment due diligence support while offering the VC fund's portfolio companies tailored advice, flexibility and services in relation to the development and manufacturing of biologics and small molecules.

IBF, established in 2015, will provide Lonza with access to its prominent network.

In Israel, more than 1,750 life science companies were active at the end of 2020, many of which are startups and small biotech companies bringing innovative therapeutics to the clinic, backed by venture capital firms, according to the IATI, Israel’s umbrella organization for the high-tech, life science and other advanced technology industries.

The challenge for small biotech firms though, said Lonza, is that, given their limited resources, they do not have and will not aspire to manufacture and scale up their medicines in-house.

The CDMO said its expertise and technology is geared towards mitigating the risks of developing and manufacturing molecules ranging from monoclonal antibodies, complex proteins, and small molecules to antibody-drug conjugates, so this agreement will enable those biotechs to focus on honing the science behind their molecules and maximizing their clinical success.

It said its "integrated approach to drug substance and drug product development and manufacturing across various platforms significantly simplifies the supply chain, reduces process complexity, and allows for shortened development timelines."

De-risking candidates

That arrangement with IBF comes hot on the heels of the announcement of a similar framework collaboration agreement​ with ALSA Ventures, a London based European biotech investment firm.

Pnina Weitz, global head of venture capital business development and relationship management, Lonza, told us then how the CDMO can help mitigate risks for emerging biotechs in the development of next-generation modalities:

“For many small biotech companies, it is essential to add value to a product with each stage of development. This is particularly important for companies that own only one asset in late discovery or early development and are seeking to attract funding from investors needed to advance to trials. We at Lonza work with biotech partners from the earliest stages to help de-risk products and add value ahead of trials and through to commercialization.

“At Lonza, we have the capabilities to de-risk clients’ lead candidates by assessing and improving both safety and manufacturability. Immunogenicity testing can be done with as little as an amino acid sequence. From these tests, we can begin to determine whether a customer’s candidate vaccine, biologic or gene therapy, will be viable for human tests. This helps to reduce the chances of adverse effects for patients in trials. By assessing developability in-silico and in-vitro, Lonza can also determine risks when entering CMC development.”

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