During the reporting year, Lonza’s business for bioconjugates, cell therapy and gene therapy experienced continued strong customer interest driven by new regulatory approvals of CAR-T therapies and positive market momentum.
In May 2017 Lonza acquired PharmaCell BV (NL), a cell-and-gene-therapy contract manufacturer in Europe that successfully launched two commercial autologous cell therapies. The acquisition strengthens Lonza’s autologous cell- and gene-therapy offering and further enhances Lonza’s global cell- and gene-therapy footprint, which is especially important for autologous therapies, where close proximity to the patient is critical.
Another highlight was the continuing construction of the world’s largest dedicated cell- and gene-therapy facility in Pearland, TX (USA), which is expected come on-stream in Q1 2018. The projects from our existing Texas facility will be transferred to the new installation during 2018. A customer and press event to build momentum around the opening of this new facility is scheduled for 10 April 2018.
In February 2017 we entered into a strategic manufacturing agreement with Selecta Biosciences for ancestral adeno-associated viral vector- (Anc80-AAV-) based gene therapy. Lonza will produce an Anc80-AAV-based gene therapy product for Selecta’s proprietary program for the treatment of methylmalonic acidemia (MMA), a rare inborn error of metabolism.
In November 2017 Lonza, Massachusetts Eye and Ear (MEE) and Akouos, a new biotechnology company focused on restoring and preserving hearing with backing from leading life science investors, announced their strategic license agreements for exclusive rights to the Anc-AAV gene therapy platform for all hearing and balance disorders.
Also during this reporting year, which marked a decade of ADC manufacturing, our ADC team won the Best Contract Manufacturer Award at the World ADC Conference in San Diego, CA (USA). Lonza reinforced our strong position in clinical ADC development and manufacturing at our Visp (CH) site.