Lonza has announced the availability of BioWhittaker's ProNS0 chemically defined serum free media, to support the production of recombinant proteins in NS0 cells. The NS0 cell line is widely used to express recombinant mammalian proteins, and the two 'optimised' formulations of ProNS0 cell media that Lonza is now offering are presented as able to cover "the broadest range of NS0 nutritional needs." "These protein-free and non-animal origin productions simplify product purification, enhance lot-to-lot consistency and reduce regulatory burden," said the head of Lonza's bioscience division, Shawn Cavanagh. Lonza has highlighted the features of the mouse myeloma platform that make it an attractive choice for research and biotherapeutic applications. High levels of protein production can be achieved through the hybrid cells that are formed, clumping or aggregation in suspension media is unlikely, and the system also lacks the ability to secrete endogenous antibody or antibody fragments. This addition to Lonza's media portfolio is the latest small step in establishing its new bioscience unit, which was created through the acquisition of Cambrex' Bioproducts business back in February. Snapping up the business was seen as the way to open up a new high growth market for Lonza, and gain access to a whole new client base. Over the first half of 2007 the new division seems to have performed relatively well according to the company, and is "fully on track in its business plan." Although sales of culture media were lower than expected due to reduced demand from a few key customers, the majority of the unit remained strong, reporting an EBIT of CHF12m (€7.3m) over the first half.
So confident is Lonza in its new unit that in July the company announced that it had enhanced its financial targets for the division. In light of the "current business strength," the firm announced an investment phase going from 2007 through 2008 that shouldn't hurt its current margin levels (an EBIT margin of 14.6 per cent was reported over the first half).
The company is upping its R&D investments from 6 per cent of sales to 8 per cent, as well as promising capital expenditures of CHF100m over a four year period. Manpower at the bioscience division is also expected to double over the next seven years, reflecting Lonza's belief in the strength of the unit and the major role its products and services can play in serving the growing biopharmaceutical sector.