According to both companies, this marks a ‘milestone’ in the strategic collaboration between Lonza and Vertex, which aims to accelerate the development and commercialization of Vertex’s potentially 'transformative' cell therapies for type 1 diabetes (T1D).
The new facility is being built adjacent to Lonza’s existing campus in Portsmouth and is a co-investment project between the two firms.
Operated by Lonza, the facility will span more than 130,000 square feet and is anticipated to generate up to 300 new jobs at peak capacity, in areas including manufacturing operations, quality assurance and quality control. Initial hiring for roles relating to the facility’s construction, fit out and qualification is already underway.
The large-scale manufacturing facility will support the commercial production of the Vertex T1D cell therapy portfolio, with a focus on the VX-880 and VX-264 programs currently in clinical trials.
Vertex’s first clinical program, VX-880, has already demonstrated clinical proof-of-concept, while its second approach, VX-264, is being studied in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial.
A ceremony was held on August 30, 2023 to mark the beginning of the facility’s construction. Lonza and Vertex's leadership teams were joined at the event by several New Hampshire government officials, including United States senator Jeanne Shaheen, and the mayor of Portsmouth, Deaglan McEachern.
Pierre-Alain Ruffieux, CEO of Lonza, said: “Today’s groundbreaking demonstrates Lonza’s continued commitment to helping our customers bring their innovative therapies to life. The facility will play a major role in delivering Vertex’s ambition to shape the future for patients living with T1D.”
“We are proud to support Vertex on this journey with a combination of deep scientific, regulatory and manufacturing expertise, alongside our established track record in supporting the commercialization of cell therapy products. Portsmouth is the ideal location for the new facility, as it enables us to build upon our existing infrastructure, capabilities and talent in the area.”
Reshma Kewalramani, CEO and president of Vertex, said: “Establishing this strategic partnership with Lonza, a world-class manufacturing organization, is a critical milestone in Vertex’s journey to transform the treatment of type 1 diabetes. Today is an exciting day for both Vertex and Lonza and for patients living with T1D.”