Lonza to sell EU peptide plant to PolyPeptide group

Lonza is selling its peptide production plant in Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium to PolyPeptide, a contract manufacturer of peptides.

Lonza, which bought a Belgian plant a decade ago to increase its peptide capacity, has now decided to let it and its 280 employees go. The contract manufacturer is selling the operation to peptide manufacturing specialist PolyPeptide group.

The two today announced they have a definitive agreement for Lonza to sell the plant in Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium to PolyPeptide, a contract manufacturer of peptides with headquarters in the U.S. and Sweden. Peptides, which are selective signaling molecules that bind to specific cell surface receptors, are used in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Terms of the deal, which is set to close within weeks, were not disclosed, but Lonza said it would take about a $44 million charge in the second half of 2016 and then book a noncash currency translation impact at the closing of the transaction.

Basel, Switzerland-based Lonza acquired the peptide plant from UCB in 2006 for about $145 million. Lonza has spent the last several years cutting costs to improve its profitability. 

“This agreement is the result of our strategy of continuously reviewing our business portfolio and streamlining and optimizing our site and production platforms,” Marc Funk, Lonza’s COO of pharma and biotech, said in a statement. “The peptides chemical business is a niche business for Lonza, with only limited synergies with other small molecule technologies. PolyPeptide is focused and dedicated to the production, operations and sales of peptides; so we believe that we have found the optimal partner for the business to give new perspectives to the Braine site and its employees.”

PolyPeptide, which already has six manufacturing sites in France, Scandinavia, India and the U.S., said the Braine plant will add to its capacity in synthesis, purification and isolation of peptides, and complement its portfolio of late-stage products.