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The new 300,000-square-foot facility is considered the largest dedicated cell and gene therapy manufacturing facility with fully integrated services.
On April 10, 2018, Lonza announced that it has opened its dedicated cell and gene therapy manufacturing facility in Pearland, TX. The 300,000-square-foot (27,870 square-meter) facility is considered the largest of its kind, according to the company.
Lonza built the facility in anticipation of rising demand from developers of cell and gene therapies. The facility offers state-of-the-art, fully integrated, and “everything-under-one-roof” access to cell-and-gene-therapy manufacturing technologies, the company reports.
"Lonza Houston will serve as a center of excellence for cell-and-gene-therapy process development from concept through pre-clinical, clinical and commercialization, all the way to the patient," said Andreas Weiler, business unit head for Emerging Technologies at Lonza Pharma & Biotech, in a company press release. "This facility has the potential to produce treatment for thousands of patients suffering from rare genetic disorders or life-threatening diseases under one roof. It will set a new standard in biopharmaceutical manufacturing and stand as one of four centers of excellence in cell and gene therapy in the only global network spanning three continents."
"Outstanding teams of top experts from around the world are gathered here and are empowered to elaborate on innovative concepts, develop and optimize complex processes, and seamlessly deliver cell and gene therapies that adhere to the industry’s current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) standards," Weiler added.
The Lonza Houston Center of Excellence is already operational and is recruiting employees with the expectation of having more than 200 full-time staff, including scientists, engineers, Master of Business Administration personnel, and biotechnology professionals by the end of 2018. The company expects to continue to recruit high-value positions as market demand increases.
“Lonza is committed to the evolution and cultivation of a diverse medical and life-science community in the Greater Houston area for many years to come," said Marc Funk, Lonza Pharma & Biotech COO, in the press release. “The site is well positioned to meet the demands of the growing cell-and-gene-therapy field. Combining this leading-edge facility with our unmatched experience and expertise in cell and gene therapy will allow us to provide a key advantage to biopharmaceutical companies and academic researchers and ultimately to the patients they serve.”
The opening ceremony, held on April 10, features commentary from Richard Ridinger, Lonza CEO; Marc Funk, Lonza Pharma & Biotech COO; Patrick Aebischer, president emeritus of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Lonza board member; Ed Thompson, Texas State Representative, 29th District; Pearland Mayor Tom Reid; Nick Leschly, CEO of bluebird bio; Brad Zakes, CEO of Cerevast Medical and founder of the Ethan Zakes Foundation, an adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) patient advocacy association; Luk Vandenberghe, assistant professor, Harvard Medical School, and associate director, Ocular Genomics Institute, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary; and other representatives from Lonza.