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Chr. Hansen, Lonza AG Announce Biotherapeutics Joint Venture

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Bioscience company Chr. Hansen Holding A/S and Lonza AG have signed an agreement to establish a 50/50 joint venture within the live biotherapeutics products (LBPs) industry, with the goal of positioning themselves as a leading contract development and manufacturing partner (CDMO) for biotech and pharma customers.

Operating from its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, the venture will bring together Chr. Hansen’s experience in developing, upscaling and manufacturing bacteria strains with Lonza’s capabilities in pharma contract manufacturing and formulation and drug delivery technologies.

The phased investment of €90 million will be shared equally between the companies over a three-year period, and deployed to build cGMP-compliant pharma production capabilities. Existing facilities in Hørsholm, Denmark, will be upgraded, while new facilities in Basel will be equipped to serve pre-clinical to phase II projects.

“We need to think differently about how we develop solutions for manufacturing in the microbiome space as we see the potential of this therapeutic area develop,” said Marc Funk, CEO, Lonza Group. “By teaming up with Chr. Hansen, one of the world’s largest producers of bacteria, we are combining expertise that perfectly fits the very specific needs of aspirational companies in the microbiome space. Our customers will be able to draw on the unrivalled skillset of two world experts that master the exacting processes required for production of strict anaerobic microbes through to formulation and dosage forms. We understand the complexities of bringing pharmaceuticals to market, including the evolving regulatory environment and will offer unique development and pharma-grade manufacturing that addresses an unmet need in the industry, enabling customers to deliver therapies for patients.”

Mauricio Graber, CEO, Chr. Hansen., added: “... [The joint venture] a great opportunity to utilize our microbial capabilities in the highly attractive LBP industry whilst sticking to our strategy of not becoming a fully-fledged pharma company. Chr. Hansen has more than 145 years of experience in strain development and manufacturing and we are really thrilled to join forces with a leading global company in the pharma CDMO market to become the partner of choice for end-to-end biotherapeutic solutions. The clinical trial supply industry is a rapidly emerging field, not to speak of the very large potential when the first bacteria-based medical products enter the commercial market.”