Lonza doubling ADC capacity at Visp

The Swiss API and chemical company Lonza thinks it has found the solution to capacity issues at its massive facility in Visp, Switzerland: Make more product. In particular, make more antibody drug conjugates (ADCs).

Lonza will invest 14 million Swiss francs ($15.2 million) to double ADC capacity at the plant. It has been manufacturing ADCs there since 2006. It said it expects the project to be complete in the second quarter of 2014 and said the project has the potential to add jobs to the plant where last year it cut about 500 jobs to trim costs.

"We have witnessed significant growth in the ADC market in the past 24 months and this investment is necessary to continue to support the growing product demands from our customers," said Stefan Stoffel, who leads Lonza's Chemical Manufacturing business.

The company says there are more oncology drugs requiring ADCs but points out that they are difficult to produce because they require facilities designed to handle both biological species and highly potent cytotoxic small molecule drugs.

That growth has attracted other manufacturers. Fujifilm and Indian manufacturer Piramal recently paired up to develop and manufacture ADCs and French contract manufacturer Novasep said last year that it would invest about $3.7 million in a plant in LeMans, France, to do the same.

- here's the announcement