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Lonza wins manufacturing deals with Enobia and Athera

By Gareth Macdonald , 23-Mar-2011
Last updated on 23-Mar-2011 at 14:48 GMT

Switzerland-based Lonza has signed two new manufacturing deals with pharmaceutical firms that look set to improve capacity utilisation.

The contracts cover the manufacture of Enobia’s hypophosphatasia drug ENB-0040 and the development of cell lines to support production of Athera Biotechnologies’ acute coronary syndrome (ACS) treatment, PC mAb.

The contracts are more good news for the Swiss firm, which has worked to increase capacity utilisation, which dropped after an unnamed ‘major’ client decided to delay a manufacturing contract by 18-months in late 2009 .

The Enobia deal is particularly important for Lonza’s medium, large-scale custom manufacturing business and biologics production facility in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Under this agreement Lonza will undertake process validation and provide commercial-scale manufacturing services for ENB-0040, which recently met its primary endpoints in a Phase II study examining it in children with rickets.

The Athera deal is, in contrast, more focused on development. Under it Lonza will use its GS Gene Expression System to cell lines that will be used for the current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) production of PC-mAb.

PC-mAb is a monoclonal antibody that was developed on Athera’s behalf Boston-based biopharmaceutical discovery firm Dyax.

The drug, which is in preclinical development, is intended to treat ACS by boosting levels of naturally occurring cardio-protective antibodies to phophorylcholine.

Stephan Kutzer, head of Lonza’s custom manufacturing business, was upbeat about both of the new manufacturing deals.

He explained that the Enobia contract “We are pleased the Enobia places confidence in Lonza’s manufacturing capabilities and has entrusted us to support the launch and commercial supply of their lead drug candidate.

The PC-mAb project from Athera,” he continued “fits well with Lonza’s core competencies and technical expertise."