Lonza is targeting the gene therapy sector through a new partnership with Avalanche Biotechnologies that will seek to outlicense viral vector tech and process development knowhow.
The collaboration will focus on the development and production of adeno-associated vectors (AAV) vectors that are based on a novel baculovirus technology which US biotech Avalanche licensed from California, US-based developer Virovek who will also pay a role in development.
The three firms say they will make the technology available to third parties and share resulting revenues, but did not provide additional financial details
Lonza has been trying to build its viral business since entering the sector in 2010 with the acquisition of Texas firm Vivante GMP Solutions, under recently ousted CEO Stefan Borgas’ strategy of building in high-tech custom manufacturing.
And – despite Borgas departure in January - Lonza has continued to build its viral-based manufacturing capabilities, most recently through the addition of new production suites and cleanrooms at its plant in Houston.
Company head of viral therapeutics David Enloe acknowledged this process in his comments about the Avalanche accord.
“With our recent expansion of additional GMP suites that will increase working volumes up to 2,000L, we are poised for the growth we have seen in this sector.
“We look forward to partnering with Avalanche in this exciting collaboration and we are pleased to be able to add this novel, scalable method for AAV production to our capabilities."