Lonza expands antibody collab, adds plans for new filling line and 100-plus jobs at future Swiss site

Swiss CDMO powerhouse Lonza is on a roll.

Right after revealing a manufacturing expansion set to create nearly 200 new jobs, the CDMO has unveiled an expanded collaboration with an unnamed “major biopharmaceutical partner."

Under the agreement, Lonza will build a dedicated commercial-scale filling line at its site in Stein, Switzerland. The line will support aseptic filling of “highly potent” antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and lyophilization under containment, bolstering Lonza’s capacity for commercial and clinical supply of the specialized cancer medicines.

As part of the project, the company plans to add roughly 115 jobs, Lonza said in a Friday release.

Lonza broke ground on the Stein site in January after pledging an investment of about 500 million Swiss francs (roughly $555 million). The site will be Lonza’s first large-scale commercial drug product manufacturing facility and is expected to kick off operations in 2026.

The new filling line is expected to be operational by 2027, Lonza said.

In early October, the manufacturer unveiled the extension of a “long-term collaboration” with an unnamed “major global biopharmaceutical partner.” It's unclear whether the expanded collaborations involve the same biopharma partner.

The first project aims to crank up commercial supplies of ADCs and calls for two new bioconjugation suites at Lonza’s site in Visp, Switzerland.

Both announcements come amid a busy period for Lonza, showing that the company didn’t let the recent departure of its CEO Pierre-Alain Ruffieux slow its roll.

Last month, Lonza and bluebird bio amended their 2016 production contract, giving Lonza the reins to increase manufacturing capacity for bluebird’s gene therapies Zynteglo and Skysona.

Before that, Vertex and Lonza linked up on process development and scale-up for Vertex’s portfolio of stem-cell-derived, fully differentiated insulin-producing islet cell therapies. The two will co-invest in a new facility in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which Lonza will operate with a staff of 300 workers.