Lonza extends antibody drug conjugate supply deal with biotech client

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss pharmaceutical group Lonza is seen at its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) – Lonza Group has extended a collaboration with a major biopharmaceutical industry client for the supply of an antibody drug conjugate (ADC) against hard-to-treat cancers, the Swiss contract drugmaker said in a statement on Friday.

ADCs are so-called “guided missile” therapies that combine a biological monoclonal antibody that is targeted at a cancer with a separate small molecule drug designed to help boost the treatment’s efficacy.

Lonza has been building out its capacity to make such antibody drug conjugates, which in the months before the pandemic were enjoying a resurgence here in interest with record numbers of therapies in human trials.

Lonza did not name the client with whom it extended the agreement.

“The deal enables the customer to access commercial-scale production of all elements of its ADC at one site, ensuring security of supply and delivering significant economies of scale,” Lonza said in the statement.

Following approval of the ADC in the latest agreement, Lonza said, the collaboration will absorb a significant proportion of capacity of large-scale mammalian cell production facilities under construction in Visp, Switzerland, which will include six 20,000 litre bioreactors.

Lonza has in the past helped make Roche’s breast cancer antibody drug conjugate, called Kadcyla. Roche also has Polivy, another ADC used for adult patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, though the Basel-based company has largely exited development of new ADCs after concluding their complexity was problematic, it has said.

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