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Lonza to buy drug production facility in Switzerland from Novartis

CHEMICALS and biotech company Lonza Group will purchase a sterile drug product fill-and-finish facility in Stein, Switzerland, from Novartis.

Lonza, which has a secondary listing on the Singapore Exchange (SGX), said in an SGX filing on Monday afternoon that it had entered into a binding contractual commitment for the acquisition, but did not disclose the purchase price.

The transaction is expected to complete within the coming months.

Lonza will use the facility to manufacture drug products for Novartis, as well as to provide production capacity for its additional customers.

Novartis is using the facility to manufacture drug products for Phase 1 to 3 clinical trials.

The new facility will enable Lonza’s pharmaceutical and biotech segment to build on existing parenteral drug development and testing capabilities, and to offer an end-to-end service to its customers for clinical supply and launch. Parenteral drugs are administered by non-oral means, such as through injection or infusion.

It will be Lonza’s first sterile drug product fill-and-finish facility.

Operational since 2009, the facility has an “excellent” quality and safety track record, Lonza said in the Monday filing. It has classified cleanroom areas as well as office, lab, utilities and storage space.

Lonza will continue to employ the existing management and operations team at the facility after the acquisition.

The facility will also continue to perform sterile manufacturing for up to 200-litre bulk volumes for clinical supply and commercial launch.

“Combined with our development services, this manufacturing facility will provide our customers with shorter timelines to the clinic and best-in-class quality for parenteral product development through commercialisation,” said Karen Fallen, head of mammalian and microbial development and manufacturing at Lonza Pharma & Biotech.

Lonza requested a trading halt on the SGX during the midday break on Monday.

Both Lonza and fellow Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and headquartered in Basel.