Mammalian, fill/finish, and ADCs key to Lonza’s biologics biz

Lonza continues to focus on biologics, identifying three key areas it will invest in to strengthen the business.

Millie Nelson, Editor

July 28, 2023

2 Min Read
Mammalian, fill/finish, and ADCs key to Lonza’s biologics biz

Lonza continues to focus on biologics, identifying three key areas it will invest in to strengthen the business.

Swiss contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) Lonza reported biologics sales of 1605 CHF ($1.85 billion) in the first half 2023, a slight decrease of 1.2% compared to the same period last year. The firm attributed this to growth project dilution.

During the call, the company spoke candidly about its biologics business and the three key areas of focus. CEO Pierre-Alain Ruffieux told shareholders the key areas are “large-scale mammalian, fill/finish, and antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs).”



He said the decision to focus on these is driven by the belief “it’s the strength of our business to have multiple approach and multiple business where we see strong demand from our customers.”

Capex and M&A

Lonza’s continued biologics ambitions are not just words, as the company has invested heavily across the three areas in recent years. In ADCs, the CDMO paid $107 million to acquire Dutch firm Synaffix in June. The deal sees Lonza add an ADC technology platform and R&D capabilities, including payload and site-specific linker technology. A further $66 million could be laid out based on additional performance-based consideration.

Recent efforts to boost the company’s ADC toolbox include the license and integration of Simris’s payload technology, and the transfer of Korean biotech AbTis’ AbClick bioconjugation platform. The firm has also invested across its inhouse ADC production capabilities, expanding Highly Potent API (HPAPI) capacity, and bioconjugation suites in Visp, Switzerland and elsewhere.

Mammalian manufacturing

Lonza has also been upping its mammalian manufacturing capacity across global locations. In October 2021, the firm expanded its capabilities in Singapore to support both upstream and downstream processing and analytical development.

As well as announcing a plan to invest $935 million into its sites in Visp, Switzerland and Portsmouth, New Hampshire in May 2021, Lonza also decided to expand drug product capabilities in Switzerland and China.


In December last year, the CDMO said the space does not have the capacity to meet fill/finish demand, which is why there has been a surge of investment in infrastructure to bolster capabilities.

In July 2022, the firm forked out $521 million to construct a commercial large-scale fill-finish facility at its site in Stein, Switzerland. And less than a year before this – at the same plant – it added additional drug product manufacturing capabilities to accelerate its service offerings in Basel and Visp. Additionally, in August 2021 Lonza installed an aseptic fill-finish manufacturing line at its mammalian plant located in Guangzhou, China.

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]

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