Lonza to make trial stocks of Micromet cancer MAb
The Swiss contractor will undertake process development and manufacturing of the monoclonal antibody (MAb), which is in trials for both acute lymphoblastic leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Maryland, US headquartered Micromet can also ask Lonza to develop commercial-scale manufacturing processes for the antibody if it goes on to gain regulatory approval.
Micromet, which reacquired rights to commericalise blinatumomab from AstraZeneca’s MedImmune arm earlier this month, developed the MAb using its BiTE development platform.
The technology, which stimulates the body's cytotoxic, or cell-destroying, T cells against tumor cells, is also the subject of collaborations with Bayer Schering Pharma, Nycomed and Merck Serono.
Most recently Micromet signed a $475m deal with French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis that will see the US developer use its technology to develop another anticancer antibody through to Phase II clinical trials.
At the time Sanofi's senior VP of R&D, Marc Cluzel, said: “Micromet's BiTE antibodies represent a promising new approach to treating cancer," adding that “we believe [they] have the potential to significantly expand the treatment options that we can offer to cancer patients in the future."
Earlier this month Lonza’s biomanufacturing arm won another MAb deal signing with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Genmab’s to make Arzerra (ofatumumab) on a commercial-scale.
Arzerra, which was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), was described as a “key biopharmaceutical for both [GSK and Genmab],” by Lonza COO Stephan Kutzer.
That deal, coupled with the new Micromet accord, may indicate that Lonza’s biomanufacturing arm is emerging as one of the “go to” contract manufacturing solutions for the large-scale production of biologics.