Lonza promotes biopharma head to CEO spot
- Swiss contract manufacturer Lonza will promote the head of its fastest growing division to become the company's new chief, announcing Wednesday that its CEO of seven years, Richard Ridinger, will retire effective March 1, 2019.
- Marc Funk, currently chief operating officer of Lonza's pharma and biotech division, will succeed Ridinger as head of the contracting giant. Funk has led Lonza's biopharma unit since 2014, growing the business from sales of 1.4 billion Swiss francs then to 3.1 billion Swiss francs last year.
- As a contract manufacturing and development organization, Lonza partners with biopharma companies to produce active pharmaceutical ingredients and dosage forms of the therapies drugmakers create. All told, Lonza contracted on 865 small- and large-molecule drug programs last year.
Lonza's pharma and biotech division accounts for nearly 60% of the company's revenues, a fact reflected in the significant investment the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) put into the business last year.
In the past 12 months, Lonza has opened what it claims is the world's largest cell and gene therapy manufacturing plant in Houston, Texas, while expanding a biologics site in New Hampshire and a Visp, Switzerland facility.
A late 2016 acquisition of Capsugel from private equity firm KKR has continued to yield benefits, boosting the pharma and biotech unit in particular.
Lonza's confidence in the division's prospects can also be seen in their choice of Marc Funk to become the company's next CEO.
"Since 2014 he has led Lonza's fastest-growing division and built it to become the CDMO partner of choice for pharma and biologics companies," said Albert Baehny, chairman of Lonza's board of directors, in a Jan. 30 statement.
"This experience has prepared him very well for his new role as Chief Executive Officer," Baehny added.
Overall, Lonza reported sales of 5.5 billion Swiss francs — about $5.5 billion — for 2018, an increase of 9% over the year prior.
In addition to pharma and biotech, Lonza also operates a Specialty Ingredients division that includes consumer health offerings. Sales growth checked in at 3.4% year over year, significantly lower than the 14% growth notched by the pharma and biotech unit.
- Lonza Earnings presentation
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