Lonza expanded its presence in China by signing a deal under which GE Healthcare will deliver a KUBio off-the-shelf biologics facility to Lonza in Guangzhou. The new facility is expected to give Lonza Pharma & Biotech a strategic base in China for providing CDMO services in the country.

By working with GE Healthcare to develop the new facility, Lonza expects to offer its suite of antibody development services and manufacture GMP-certified batches by 2020. The two companies will work closely on the design of the 17,000 m2 site, which will include 6500 m2 of lab space and one KUBio facility, according to Karen Fallen, head of clinical development and manufacturing, Lonza Pharma & Biotech.

“We looked at several options for sites in China, ranging from our own build to working with partners,” Fallen tells GEN. Lonza chose an initiative undertaken with the Guangzhou Development District (GDD), in combination with the possibility of taking over a facility in the Biopark that GE is co-developing with GDD. “This gives us access to a growing biohub with the advantage of rapid build and start of operations,” she notes.

Lonza will be combining GE’s KUBio concept of single-use bioreactors for GMP manufacturing with its own platforms and expertise in development, including cell line construction, cell banking, process development, etc., notes Fallen, who indicates that this setup also gives Lonza the option to scale when needed.

Lonza has been present in China since 1995. “We now have operations across the group in Guangdong (the new biologics facility is also in this province) and Jiangsu province as well as Shanghai,” continues Fallen. “In Lonza’s Pharma & Biotech segment, we have a small molecule API plant in the Nansha district of Guangzhou, which has been operational since 2003. This is our second small molecule API site outside of Visp, Switzerland.”

The new facility in Guangzhou is Lonza’s first biomanufacturing facility in China and reflects the increasing need for manufacturing antibody therapies specifically for innovator companies looking to take new therapies to market, she points out.

“The facility, which will offer development and manufacturing from preclinical to early commercial, will serve Chinese companies developing innovative medicines for the domestic market as well as those with a strategy of expanding to global markets,” says Fallen. “In addition, we will work with multinational companies with manufacturing requirements in China.”

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