Lonza Invests in Microbial Development Lab Expansion

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Lonza is expanding its microbial development capabilities at its Visp, Switzerland, site to support clinical and commercial drug development programs.

Lonza announced on Nov. 16, 2021 that it has invested in additional microbial development capabilities at its Visp, Switzerland, site and will increase the capacity of its development services targeting microbial-derived proteins by expanding laboratory space and equipment, which will be ready to use by the end of 2021.

Under the expansion, a dedicated pilot suite will be installed, housing a 50-L fermenter and corresponding downstream equipment. The suite is expected to generate non-good manufacturing practice product for use in formulation and toxicology studies. The pilot suite will also enhance Lonza’s internal technology transfer strategy and capability by providing a representative primary recovery scale. Furthermore, the expanded laboratory capacity will be aligned with available manufacturing capacity and will support new mid-scale assets that are coming online in 2022.

This current extension will support new projects in Lonza’s existing manufacturing programs as well as a previously announced mid-scale microbial capacity expansion, the company stated in a press release. Because microbial expression systems demand complex manufacturing processes, this expansion will strengthen upstream, downstream, and process analytics support for the new projects.

The company expects that the new development capacity will consolidate its microbial footprint at Visp and add new high-throughput equipment and automation processes, which will drive efficiency and project delivery. Upgrades in automation will include three liquid handling workstations and other enabling equipment dedicated to upstream and downstream process development and analytical method development, which will enhance data generation.


“The microbial-derived pipeline is growing at a healthy rate driven by an increase in alternatives to antibodies, such as nanobodies, designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins), single-chain antibodies, etc. For some of these molecules, microbial systems show better and more efficient productivities, which is increasing the trend toward outsourcing as customers need to rely on key microbial expertise. Expanding our development laboratories will enable us to support new customers with the development and manufacture of these molecules and other recombinant proteins for both clinical and commercial projects,” said Shiva Khalafpour, vice-president, head of Microbial Business Unit, Lonza, in the press release.

Source: Lonza