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4 Aug 2020

Lonza expands microbial capacity and extends partnership with Servier for L-asparaginase API manufacturing

Lonza's Visp, Switzerland, site.

New mid-scale microbial facility will support Servier with API for acute lymphoblastic leukemia therapies.

Lonza's microbial manufacturing facility in Visp, Switzerland is poised for expansion so that it can provide mid-scale commercial manufacturing to multiple customers and serve the growing needs of Servier, an independent international pharmaceutical company and long-term Lonza partner.

Servier and Lonza have signed a long-term extension to the manufacturing agreement for L-asparaginase, produced at Lonza since 2009.

The extension and expansion of the collaboration will provide Servier with the additional capacity required to provide treatment to many more patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer of the white blood cells.

Servier intends to expand access to asparaginase-based multi-agent chemotherapeutic regimens, as ALL continues to be the most common type of cancer among children diagnosed with leukemia.

The new facility will be the sixth to be housed in Lonza’s new biopark in Visp, Switzerland, currently under construction.

The new mid-scale (3,000 L) microbial facility will tap into existing central utilities and labs and will complement the existing small-scale (1,000 L) and large-scale (15,000 L) assets in Visp. The facility is expected to be operational in the second half of 2022 and Lonza expects to add 100 new staff to the existing, highly-experienced microbial team.

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. For example, many antibody fragments, as well as plasmid DNA, can be produced in microbial systems.

Jean-Christoph Hyvert, Chief Commercial Officer, Lonza said: "We see a clear role for microbial technology as new medicines evolve and we are investing in key enablers including expression technology and manufacturing assets.”

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