Lonza to set up Singapore cell therapy plant

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Medical research

Swiss biomedical science firm Lonza is investing CHF30m (€19.7m) in a new cell therapy facility in Singapore, continuing its global expansion effort.

The plant, which will produce novel therapeutics on a contractual basis, will be located next to the firm’s existing mammalian manufacturing unit at the Tuas Biomedical Park in the West of the country.

Company CEO Stefan Borgas said the unit is the next step in Lonza’s efforts to expand in Asia explaining that: “Cell therapy is expected to be one of the most important innovation drivers of modern medicine​.

"The facility will operate with cutting-edge technologies and a skilled labour force, allowing it to readily meet the needs of a broad range of customers and address the growing global demand​.”

Beh Swan Gin, managing director of the Singapore Economic Development Board (SEDB), said the new unit “extends the highly successful Lonza-Singapore partnership from chemicals to biologics manufacturing and now, the production of cellular therapeutics​.”

Construction is expected to begin early next year with the aim it becoming fully operation sometime in mid-2011.

Lonza has a network of 12 good manufacturing practice (cGMP) accredited cell therapy plants worldwide, including a facility in Walkersvillie, Maryland, US in which it invested $26m to boost cell production capacity in January.

The firm also works with Novartis and Genentech on the manufacture and development of biologics.

Singapore’s biotech sector "future ready"

Efforts to boost scientific development has seen Singapore emerge as a hub for high-tech drug manufacture, with global pharmaceutical firm’s investing more than $500m in the country last year alone, according to the SEDB.

Before Lonza announced its latest move, Bayer, Schering-Plough and Takeda all expanded operations in the country both by adding manufacturing capacity and forging closer links with academia.

Lonza is also working with Baxter, Genentech, GSK, Novartis and Millipore to set up a $2m biopharmaceutical manufacturing training facility in the country.

Speaking at the recent BIO 2009 event in Atlanta, Yeoh Keat Chuan, executive director of the SEDB’s biomedical sciences unit said that: "Singapore is aggressively positioning itself as a home for business, innovation and talent in Asia to be future- ready​.”

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