Bio & Pharmaceuticals

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TX: Lonza Opens World’s Largest Dedicated Cell-and-Gene-Therapy Mfg Facility

16 Oct, 2018


Lonza opened the world’s largest dedicated cell and-gene-therapy facility, which was built in anticipation of the rising demand from developers of cell and gene therapies – the next era in medicine – and with the mission of enabling them to deliver these types of treatments to patients around the world more quickly and efficiently.

During a grand opening ceremony in Pearland, TX (USA), Lonza executives and industry leaders unveiled the 300,000-square-foot (27,870-square-meter) facility and its offerings – highlighting its state-of-the-art, fully integrated, everything-under-one-roof access to some of the world's most innovative cell-and-gene-therapy manufacturing technologies.

"Lonza Houston will serve as a center of excellence for cell and-gene-therapy process development from concept through pre-clinical, clinical and commercialization, all the way to the patient," said Andreas Weiler, business unit head for emerging technologies at Lonza Pharma & Biotech. "This facility has the potential to produce treatment for thousands of patients suffering from rare genetic disorders or life-threatening diseases, under one roof. It will set a new standard in biopharmaceutical manufacturing and stand as one of four centers of excellence in cell and gene therapy in the only global network spanning three continents."

He added: "Outstanding teams of top experts from around the world are gathered here and are empowered to elaborate on innovative concepts, develop and optimize complex processes, and seamlessly deliver cell and gene therapies that adhere to the industry’s current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) standards."

The Lonza Houston Center of Excellence is already operational and manufacturing for several customers. This facility is recruiting employees and will have more than 200 full-time staff including scientists, engineers, MBAs and biotechnology professionals by the end of 2018 and continue to recruit high-value positions as market demand increases.

“Lonza is committed to the evolution and cultivation of a diverse medical and life-science community in the Greater Houston area for many years to come,” said Marc Funk, Lonza pharma & biotech chief operating officer. “The site is well-positioned to meet the demands of the growing cell-and-gene-therapy field. Combining this leading-edge facility with our unmatched experience and expertise in cell and gene therapy will allow us to provide a key advantage to biopharmaceutical companies and academic researchers and ultimately to the patients they serve.”

The opening ceremony featured commentary from Richard Ridinger, Lonza chief executive officer; Marc Funk, Lonza pharma & biotech chief operating officer; Patrick Aebischer, president emeritus of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Lonza board member; Ed Thompson, Texas state representative, 29th District; Pearland Mayor Tom Reid; Nick Leschly, chief executive officer of bluebird bio; Brad Zakes, chief executive officer of Cerevast Medical, Inc. and founder of the Ethan Zakes Foundation, an adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) patient advocacy association; Luk Vandenberghe, assistant professor, Harvard Medical School, and associate director, Ocular Genomics Institute, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary; and other representatives from Lonza.

An explanatory cell-and-gene-therapy animation is posted here.

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