- Swiss manufacturer Lonza said its newly restructured pharma, biotech and nutrition business beat expectations in the first quarter, helped by strong demand in its biologics business.
- Performance in Lonza's specialty ingredients business, on the other hand, disappointed amid raw material shortages and supply-chain disruptions caused by China's Blue Sky environmental program and a major Chinese plant explosion, the company said.
- Still, the Swiss drug manufacturer maintained its overall sales forecast for 2019, saying the strength of its drugs offerings made up for headwinds facing the rest of its business.
Lonza is focusing on the thriving part of its business, making a flurry of investments in manufacturing for biologics while divesting more traditional divisions such as water care.
It's part of the company's years-long transition from an industrial chemical stalwart founded in 1897 to a modern contract manufacturer for cutting-edge medical treatments.
Lonza CEO Marc Funk told BioPharma Dive in a recent interview that the need for drug contract and manufacturing companies has never been greater. Advances in science and the faster regulatory pathways for new treatments are driving new demand, he said.
Just this month, for example, Lonza announced a partnership with the Danish bioscience company Chr. Hansen to develop and produce bacteria-based therapies — part of the emerging microbiome field. Lonza's expansion is global, too, with investments in healthcare projects across the U.S., Europe, China and Singapore.
Build-out of the company's Ibex biologics platform in Visp, Switzerland remains ongoing. Lonza said the clinical manufacturing offering has a full slate of customers for 2020, more than year before operations begin, the company said.
The company didn't give earnings or sales figures for the first quarter but did offer some guidance. Lonza said it's maintaining its 2019 outlook for mid- to high-single digit sales growth and sustained margin levels.
For 2022, the out year for current guidance, the company expects sales to reach 7.1 billion Swiss francs, or about $7 billion.
The company plans to report first-half results on July 24.