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Lonza buys Vivante to expand custom biologics biz

By Gareth Macdonald , 30-Aug-2010
Last updated the 30-Aug-2010 at 13:46 GMT

Lonza buys viral-based biologics maker Vivante GMP Solutions to broaden custom manufacturing offering.

Texas, US-headquartered Vivante specialises in viral vaccine and vector production, which is an area in which Switzerland-based Lonza is keen to grow as David Smith, head of therapeutic cell solutions unit, explained.

Lonza is strategically committed to being successful in the growing viral marketplace. Vivante’s expertise will allow us to accelerate our entry into the viral-based manufacturing arena”.

The move is a further expansion of Lonza’s biomanufacturing business which, in June , saw it team with Cellectis to commercialise a bioengineered cell line and, more the following month, win a contract with Human Genome Sciences (HGS).

More recently, Lonza research collaboration with Roslin Cells that is focused on the creation of a customized cell culture media and process development service for drugmakers wishing to make pluripotent stems cell-based drugs.

And, more broadly the Vivant acquisition is in keeping with efforts to expand the range of production capabilities and products Lonza can offer the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.

Contracting biz down in H1

Lonza will also hope that Vivante will play apart in reversing the decline seen in its custom biologics manufacturing and biotechnology development divisions so far this year.

For the six months to June 30, revenue from Lonza’s contract manufacturing division, which includes its chemicals and biologics businesses, fell nearly 7 per cent to CHF685m (€503m).

The firm attributed the decline to customer’s efforts to reduce spending following the economic downturn.

Similarly, Lonza’s biotechnology unit, which is working with Roslin Cells, saw sales drop 9.4 per cent to CHF106m mainly due to a decline it the firm’s therapeutic media business.

In contrast, the group’s life science ingredients arm, the unit which produces pharmaceutical actives, posted revenue CHF536m, up some 6 per cent on the first half of 2009.

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