- Swiss manufacturing giant Lonza will expand its biologics plant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, announcing on May 4 plans to add multiple 6,000-liter bioreactors to meet rising demand for mid-scale production.
- Additionally, Lonza will add an unspecified number of cell therapy manufacturing suites to the site — further evidence of the company's push to expand its offerings in the cell and gene therapy field.
- The new facilities will incorporate several new technologies to help support a stronger emphasis on automation. Construction is expected to start in late-2018.
As the demand for complex biologics and cell therapies increases, biotechs have to make a decision between developing in-house manufacturing or contracting production out.
Many are seeking outside help, resulting in a growth of capacity across contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs). Recent examples include Brammer Bio, which has expanded its Florida facility to meet cell and gene therapy needs; AGC Biologics, which is building out its admin and R&D capabilities; and Fujifilm, which has invested around $28 million in U.S. and U.K. capacity for development and manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals.
Lonza, however, has made one of the larger bets on contract manufacturing for cell and gene therapy. In April, the company opened a 300,000-square-foot plant in Texas that, by its measure, is the world's largest site dedicated to the production of cell and gene therapies.
Supporting its decision to expand in Portsmouth is a growing demand for mid-scale mammalian manufacturing, which Lonza attributes to an improving regulatory environment for products with "niche" indications.
The new facilities will also fill a gap between Lonza's smaller, single-use bioreactors and large-scale assets.
In February, the company established a network of cell and gene therapy centers of excellence, including the Texas plant as well as sites in Geleen/Maastricht in the Netherlands, Portsmouth and Singapore. For cell therapies, Portsmouth will support Phase 1 development through to commercial manufacturing. Lonza expects these facilities to be operational later this year.
Also in February, Lonza added new technology to its Tampa, Florida, plant, to improve its powder-in-capsule filling for oral solid dosage and dry-powder inhalation, as well as increasing its capabilities in handling highly potent active pharmaceutical ingredients.