Sanofi and Lonza enter partnership to build biologics facility

Published: 27-Feb-2017

The large-scale facility, to be built in Visp, Switzerland, will be established through a joint venture with an initial investment of around CHF 290 million (€270 million) shared equally between Sanofi and Lonza

The strategic partnership leverages Lonza's expertise in large-scale mammalian cell culture facilities alongside Sanofi's strength in developing and launching biologics based treatments to address patient needs. Lonza will construct the facility and will support the joint venture in its operation of the facility.

The initial phase of the facility will commence construction in 2017, pending necessary regulatory approvals, and is expected to be fully operational by 2020. Lonza has previously built and licensed three similar facilities in the US and Singapore.

Marc Funk is COO Pharma & Biotech at Lonza. He said:

We intend to address long-term market needs by establishing a state-of-the-art strategic biologics manufacturing platform.

"Approximately 60% of our pipeline is made up of biologics, including monoclonal antibodies, dedicated to key disease areas such as cardiovascular, immunology and inflammation, neurology and oncology,” said Philippe Luscan, Executive Vice President, Global Industrial Affairs at Sanofi.

“Lonza is a highly experienced partner in this field and the capabilities this joint venture will create are critical to meeting our patients' needs for these important therapies."

The partnership provides both Sanofi and Lonza with substantial flexibility:

  • Each party will share the available capacity in line with their equity shareholding in the joint venture
  • Sanofi will have additional access to bio-manufacturing capacity
  • Lonza will be free to market their share of capacity and will also market unused Sanofi capacity

The strategic partnership enables Sanofi to react quickly to fluctuations in demand in a short timeframe, reinforcing their capability to launch high-quality, next generation biologic medicines and ensure consistent access for patients.

It also provides Lonza with the capacity to respond to growing manufacturing demands for large-scale mammalian cell culture based therapeutic proteins. By adding flexibility in this way, it is hoped this model will optimise biologics production capacity across the whole industry.

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