Lonza, Chr. Hansen Commit $101M to Microbiome-Based Drug CDMO Venture

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Lonza and Chr. Hansen Holding have formed a 50/50 contract development and manufacturing (CDMO) joint venture that plans to spend €90 million ($101.1 million) over three years to produce microbiome-based biotherapeutics. [Lonza]

Lonza and Chr. Hansen Holding have formed a 50/50 contract development and manufacturing (CDMO) joint venture that plans to spend €90 million ($101.1 million) over three years to produce microbiome-based biotherapeutics.

The companies said their joint venture is intended to combine Lonza’s expertise in pharma contract manufacturing, formulation, and drug delivery technologies—including its enTRinsic™ capsules—with Chr. Hansen’s experience in developing, upscaling and manufacturing bacteria strains.

Lonza and Chr. Hansen said their joint venture will be the world’s first CDMO capable of providing a full supply chain geared to manufacturing bacteria strains for therapeutic use. The CDMO will specialize in handling, characterizing, formulating, manufacturing and encapsulating strict anaerobe bacteria.

The companies cited their own internal market intelligence, as well as Citeline, in projecting that the global clinical supply industry will grow to €150 million to €200 million by 2025. Ten years later, the combined clinical and commercial supply industry is expected to exceed €1 billion ($xx billion).

Lonza and Chr. Hansen aim to capitalize on what they reason will be growing commercial demand once the first live biotherapeutic products are approved and available for treatment. The joint venture will be based in Basel, Switzerland, where Lonza is headquartered, and will operate production facilities in Denmark and Switzerland—the latter specializing in pharma-grade drug production.

Lonza and Chr. Hansen yesterday signed an agreement committing both companies to the joint venture. It plans to build its capabilities in cGMP-compliant pharma production by upgrading Chr. Hansen’s existing facilities in Hørsholm, Denmark, where the company is headquartered; and equipping new facilities in Basel to serve pre-clinical to phase II projects. As the joint venture’s pipeline matures, further facilities for phase III and commercial manufacturing will be developed, Lonza and Chr. Hansen said.

‘Think Differently’

“We need to think differently about how we develop solutions for manufacturing in the microbiome space as we see the potential of this therapeutic area develop,” Lonza Group CEO Marc Funk said in a statement. “By teaming up with Chr. Hansen, one of the world’s largest producers of bacteria, we are combining expertise that perfectly fits the very specific needs of aspirational companies in the microbiome space.

The joint venture plans to spend an initial €45 million ($50.55 million), with the additional €45 million ($50.55 million) to be invested once customer demand for clinical phase III and commercial supply is established. The joint venture is expected to be largely self-funding after the production set-up has been established, according to Chr. Hansen and Lonza.

“The joint venture is a quantum leap for Chr. Hansen’s human microbiome lighthouse. It’s a great opportunity to utilize our microbial capabilities in the highly attractive LBP industry whilst sticking to our strategy of not becoming a fully-fledged pharma company,” added Chr. Hansen CEO Mauricio Graber. “Chr. Hansen has more than 145 years of experience in strain development and manufacturing and we are really thrilled to join forces with a leading global company in the pharma CDMO market to become the partner of choice for end-to-end biotherapeutic solutions.”

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