Lonza expands team, labs for cell and gene development

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Yuuji
© GettyImages/Yuuji

Related tags: cell and gene therapies, Lonza, Rna

Lonza is to increase the size of the cell and gene therapy (CGT) development space at its Houston facility; the expansion will include viral vector-based process development and analytical development laboratories.

The Swiss company is also boosting the size of its European process development laboratories in Geleen in the Netherlands.

The work on both the US and Dutch facilities is anticipated to be completed by the end of this year, confirmed the Basel headquartered contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO).

Lonza also reported that its CGT process development team has more than doubled since 2020 and continues to grow in both of those markets, helping to meet the higher demand for such services globally.

The expansions in Houston and Geleen come on top of the company's recent acquisition of exosome development services laboratories in Siena, Italy.

The increased service capabilities and capacity will facilitate multiple early- and late-stage CGT development services, complementing the existing CGT offering of development services for autologous cell therapies, allogeneic cell therapies, viral vector-based gene therapies, and exosome applications, said Lonza.

In addition, it believes the expansions will enable it to drive its chemistry, manufacturing, and control (CMC) activities.

Commenting on the expansion work, Alberto Santagostino, SVP, head of cell and gene technologies, Lonza, said: “The foundation of cell and gene therapies is a process. As the field matures, drug developers are now electing to spend more time and effort building a robust, reliable process early to avoid high-risk gaps in manufacturing. This has seen demand for our process development expertise and capabilities increase consistently. To continue supporting these drug developers, we are investing in internal growth to strengthen our teams and capabilities. This will support our systematic approach, both to reliably produce commercial cell and gene therapies and to bring them to market for our customers.”

Oral RNA-based therapy

This week also saw Lonza announce its participation in the GENEGUT project to develop an innovative functional capsule-based delivery solution for therapies targeting ileal Crohn's disease (CD).

The four-year research project, funded by Horizon Europe, aims to develop the first non-invasive oral RNA-based therapy for CD with the long-term vision to develop a first-in-class gene therapy to improve the quality of life for millions of patients. The final therapy will use complementary technologies selectively targeting the immunomodulatory pathways within inflamed intestinal cells residing in specific regions of the small intestine, thereby avoiding systemic side effects.

Lonza is to provide capsule technology targeting the site-specific release of the encapsulated RNA-containing nanoparticles within the small intestine.   

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