Lonza signs regenerative medicine deal with Mesoblast

pharmafile | September 27, 2011 | News story | Manufacturing and Production Lonza, Mesoblast, pharma manufacturing news 

Lonza has entered into a strategic-level alliance with Mesoblast, a specialist in regenerative medicines, which could see the construction of a dedicated manufacturing facility for cell-based therapies.

Australia-based Mesoblast is developing a portfolio of therapies based on adult stem cells, and is acknowledged to be among the leaders in bringing regenerative medicines through to commercialisation.

The company has already advanced a therapy based on allogeneic mesenchymal precursor cells (MPCs) into phase III trials for bone marrow transplantation, and has also started a phase II programme in cardiovascular diseases, notably heart attacks and cardiac failure.

Last month, it started a 225-patient phase II study in Europe to look at the effects of infusing allogeneic (off-the-shelf) MPCs into the heart during a standard angioplasty and stent procedure.

Mesoblast’s management has been saying for some time that the company needs a strategic-level manufacturing alliance to extend its position in the regenerative medicine market, as this will allow it to retain control of manufacture for its products, reduce the cost of goods sold, boost margins on sale prices and provide R&D support for new products.

The deal with Lonza “will provide Mesoblast with significant commercial advantages, including certainty of capacity to meet long-term global supply of its proprietary MPC products”, said the company in a statement.

Lonza will initially supply the Australian company’s clinical and commercial MPC needs from its Cell Therapy facilities in Singapore. Moreover, assuming the business develops as planned, Mesoblast has the right to require Lonza to build a manufacturing facility that will be dedicated to making its products.

The company would commit to buying agreed quantities of stem cell material from the facility, and would have the right to buy it at an agreed price two years after it received regulatory approval.

Discussing the importance of the agreement, Lonza’s chief executive Stefan Borgas said: “The cell therapy market is anticipated to become a major growth industry with the potential to mirror the growth we have seen in monoclonal antibodies over the past 20 years.”

The market for regenerative medicines is predicted to grow from a level of less than $2 billion to almost $25 billion by 2025, according to consultancy firm Scientia Advisors.

Phil Taylor

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