Our Mammalian Manufacturing business experienced strong performance across our global manufacturing network in 2017, as we focused on continuing current levels of utilization and profitability. Strong demand in Mammalian Manufacturing was one of the key drivers in the Pharma&Biotech segment’s sales growth.
In 2017 Lonza manufactured complex bulk drug substance for approximately 22 commercial large molecule medicines. We continued to benefit from a balanced customer portfolio, ranging from large pharmaceutical companies to emerging biotech enterprises. The outsourcing and dual-sourcing trends in the industry maintained a positive and healthy momentum.
To meet and anticipate strong demand in the commercial outsourcing market, we continue to invest in technology, processes and assets. These activities include expansion of the Ibex® biomanufacturing complex located in Visp.
Ibex® Solutions offer a modular, technology-independent development and manufacturing facility capable of supporting activities across multiple technologies – mammalian, microbial, cellular or bioconjugate – and from late discovery to development and commercial manufacturing. It is expected to reduce time-to-market for Lonza’s customers by 12 months or more, de-risk their strategic investment decisions and allow them to benefit from Lonza’s expertise and service network in Visp.
Several hundred new positions are expected to be created on Lonza’s 100,000 m2 (1,076,391 sq feet) brownfield site there. Construction began in June 2017; the first groundbreaking took place in September 2017.
First long-term contracts for Ibex® have been secured. As announced in February 2017, we entered into a strategic partnership with Sanofi by establishing a joint venture to build and operate together a large-scale mammalian cell culture facility for monoclonal antibody production.
Already in 2018 we have added 2,000L single-use bioreactors in Singapore that could further address the increasing need for flexible volume and more limited patient demand, as in the case of orphan drugs.
These new endeavors have demonstrated our strong commitment to provide innovative, tailored solutions for our clients to improve their flexibility and strengthen their value chain and lifecycle management in a dynamic business environment.