and Lonza to build new $285 million Swiss biologics
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[February 27, 2017]
By Matthias Blamont
PARIS (Reuters) - French drugmaker Sanofi
and Swiss manufacturer Lonza will invest 270 million euros ($285
million) in a new large-scale biologics facility that will produce
monoclonal antibodies by 2020, the two companies said on Monday.
Pending regulatory approvals, the facility - which will be
established through a 50-50 joint venture - will be located in Visp,
Switzerland, Sanofi and Lonza said in a joint statement.
By contrast to most drugs that are chemically synthesized, many
biologics are produced using living cells. They are seen as a
promising answer in areas such as cardiovascular, neurology or
Experts say they also provide means to treat a variety of medical
illnesses and conditions that have no other treatments available.
They are also more expensive than traditional products.
"Approximately sixty percent of our pipeline is made up of
biologics, including monoclonal antibodies, dedicated to key disease
areas such as cardiovascular, immunology and inflammation, neurology
and oncology," said Philippe Luscan, executive vice president of
global industrial affairs at Sanofi, in a statement.
"Lonza is a highly experienced partner in this field and the
capabilities which this joint venture will create are critical to
meeting our patients' needs for these important therapies," he
Lonza, which has previously set up similar sites in the United
States and Singapore, will build and operate the infrastructure, the
companies said. A spokesman with Sanofi said 200 jobs would be
created in the process.
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Sanofi, which has failed to land two big biotech acquisitions over
the past year, had said it would look to strike new partnerships to
spur more growth for the company.
The French group is also open to more asset swaps after agreeing to
hand its animal health unit to Boehringer Ingelheim in exchange for
the German company's consumer healthcare operations last year.
Lonza, which reported higher annual profits in January, has also
said it was keen to expand its global cell-biology portfolio.
($1 = 0.9471 euros)
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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