Lonza snaps up 330kL Roche Vacaville site for $1.2 billion

Lonza is set to acquire the Genentech large-scale biologics manufacturing facility in Vacaville, California from Roche for $1.2 billion in cash.

Millie Nelson, Editor

March 20, 2024

2 Min Read

In June 2023, Roche disclosed its plans to sell or close the legacy Genentech Vacaville facility and cited its personalized pipeline as a driver for this. Now, Swiss contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) Lonza is set to buy the facility and said the acquisition will enhance the firm’s large-scale biologics manufacturing capacity for mammalian therapies.

In addition to the $1.2 billion cash payment, the CDMO also expects to invest around $561 million to renew the facility and increase capabilities at the site to support mammalian biologics therapies. The Roche products currently produced at the site will be supplied by Lonza and this will be phased out as the site transforms to serve different customers and clients.

Over several years, the site has manufactured various monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) for Genentech and its parent company Roche. This includes some best sellers such as Herceptin (trastuzumab), Avastin (bevacizumab), Rituxan (rituximab), and Actermra (tocilizumab) – the latter in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The Vacaville site is a highly valuable strategic acquisition that will make capacity immediately available for our customers and unlock future growth for our Biologics division. It will support us in providing a commercialization path to existing customers and incremental large-scale commercial capacity to our partners,” said Jean-Christophe Hyvert, president of Biologics at Lonza.

We have deep and long-standing industrial expertise in delivering commercial scale manufacturing services for our customers’ therapies. In combining this with the strong legacy of the Vacaville facility, its highly skilled colleague community, and its proven track record on quality, we are excited to take our leading large-scale mammalian offering to its next chapter of growth.”

The Vacaville facility has a total bioreactor capacity of approximately 330,000 L, which makes it one of the biggest biologics manufacturing sites globally by volume. According to BioPlan Associates’ Top 1000 Biopharmaceutical Facilities Index, the plant is only second to CDMO Samsung Biologic’s Songdo, Korea biocampus in relation to global bioreactor capacity.

Lonza said through the acquisition the CDMO will also generate West Coast commercial production presence and provide its customers with access to additional capacity in the US. Furthermore, 750 Genentech employees at the Vacaville site will be offered employment by Lonza.

Subject to specific closing conditions, the transaction is anticipated to be completed in the second half of this year.

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

You May Also Like