Lonza: Bringing Innovation in the Pharmaceutical and Biologic Industries

Pharma Tech Outlook: Pharma Tech Magazine

Lonza: Bringing Innovation in the Pharmaceutical and Biologic Industries

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Marc Funk, CEO, LonzaMarc Funk, CEO
Today, the ever-increasing complexity and evolving regulations of the pharmaceutical, and medical technology space is pushing companies to keep pace with changing requirements, keep costs in check—all while maintaining a laser focus on improving patient outcomes. Historically, companies have had limited access to data due to disparate sources that are distributed across numerous legacy systems. To counter this, companies seeking to invest in technology and partner to improve their technological capabilities. Enterprises in the field are adopting strategic, relationship-based outsourcing models as opposed to traditional transactional engagements. Strategic, long-term partnerships will enable companies to streamline the supply chain, efficiently manage the capacity gap arising from the shift to biologics and personalized medicine, and ultimately improve time-to-market. Furthermore, this will likely boost biologics and data-driven clinical innovation by boosting manufacturing capacity.
Being one of the world’s leading and most-trusted integrated solutions providers to the pharmaceutical, biotech, consumer health, and specialty chemicals markets, Lonza is leveraging science and technology to serve markets with a focus on creating a healthy environment. The company promotes healthy lifestyle and illness prevention through consumers’ preventive healthcare, as well as improving patient healthcare by supporting customers to deliver innovative medicines that help treat or even cure severe diseases.

With more than a century of experience, Lonza was founded in 1897 in the rural Swiss town of Gampel, situated in the canton of Valais, deriving its name from the nearby river. Initially, the company produced electricity for the manufacturing of chemicals such as calcium carbide. Today, Lonza has a unique capability to connect biotech expertise with in-depth chemical knowledge to provide the best solutions for customers’ success. The firm is continuously developing technologies to enable its customers to tackle significant challenges such as the vital need for disease prevention and treatment, abundant food, advanced materials, and enhanced hygiene and wellness. Lonza is driven by its commitment towards facilitating high quality and operational excellence across the regions, functions, and markets.

The effects of globalization, i.e., a growing world population and their migration into megacities in search for a better standard of living have resulted in the need for improved medical facilities, healthier food products, patient-centric care, and overall safer living conditions. Lonza offers a wide range of services to support drug discovery research processes including custom cell isolation, expansion and transfection services, biomarker discovery and much more. These solutions enable researchers to perform drug discovery research using state-of-the-art tools to generate and drive data quickly and easily for improved decision-making.

Adopt an innovative approach to Drug Discovery

The rise in the incidence of cancer cases is the key driver of the growth of cell analysis technology. In recent years, the increase in government investments in life sciences sector and rapid expansion of the biopharmaceutical & biotechnological companies is expected to create opportunities for the market. However, cell analysis is a highly time-consuming, cost-intensive procedure. Furthermore, expressing clones stably as a result of lipofection experiments is often low in number, especially for cells which are difficult-to-transfect such as blood, breast, and prostate cancer cells.

Lonza’s Nucleofector Technology is well equipped for the generation of stable expressing clones in difficult-to-transfect cell types in such cases, due to its high efficiencies for transient transfections.

The Lonza’s Nucleofector System comprises a core unit, as well as the following functional units and add-on devices with different transfection capabilities to suit different applications

The company’s solution enables highly efficient, transfection of primary cells, stem cells, neurons, and cell lines that are difficult to transfect via electroporation and other non-viral transfection methods. In recent years, this has opened significant opportunities for disease research and therapeutic development, including the advancement of gene therapies, immune-therapies, and stem cell generation.

A crucial process in life science applications involves the ability to introduce DNA, RNA, or proteins into cells to alter their genotype or phenotype. There are various types of transfection methods in-existence—though the question of choosing the best approach to use in cases often depends on the suitability of the method to the application. Electroporation is a physical transfection method that permeabilizes the cell membrane by applying an electrical pulse and moves molecules via the electrical field into the cell. It is a powerful tool for transfecting large DNA fragments and achieving excellent transfection efficiencies in cell lines. However, using high toxicity in traditional electroporation methods has been less successful for efficiently transfecting more biologically relevant primary cells and stem cells. Thus, limiting its effectiveness in similar cases.

Lonza’s Nucleofector Technology enables a higher transfection efficiency than other non-viral transfection methods of up to 90 percent for plasmid DNA and 99 percent for oligonucleotides, like siRNA and a wide range of substrates, including miRNA, siRNA, peptides or proteins. The solution was designed to be user-friendly with over 650 cell-type-specific protocols that have led to direct transfection success. Also, Lonza’s innovative technology allows for an efficient analysis of the results already shortly after transfection possible and also aids in excellent preservation of the physiological status and viability of transfected cells. Nucleofector Technology can facilitate numerous applications, such as therapeutic gene knock-down via RNAi2 or CRISPR3 and the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells4 or CAR-T5, among many others. Furthermore, the company provides an excellent technical and applicative support from a highly-skilled, specialist scientific support team.

A Smart and Modular Design

The Lonza’s Nucleofector System comprises a core unit, as well as the following functional units and add-on devices with different transfection capabilities to suit different applications. 4D-Nucleofector Core Unit is suited to handle various functional units for efficient transfection of hard-to-transfect cell lines and primary cells in different formats. This advanced, convenient, and modular design helps in adding different units each designed for specific applications—X Unit, Y Unit, and LV Unit. The X Unit supports Nucleofection of various cell numbers in different formats, Y Unit enables adherent Nucleofection in 24-well culture plates, and for Large-scale transfection of up to 1x109 cells it is preferable to use the LV Unit. The system includes a 5.7’’ inches foldable touch screen to operate the system and intuitive operation software for designing and saving individual experimental setups. Furthermore, cells that have been transfected using the X Unit can be transferred to other Nucleofector Platforms without the need for re-optimization. Lonza shares its experience and protocols for treatment of individual cell types to its customers with its vast knowledge database.

Moving forward, Lonza continues to experience a positive momentum in its core healthcare businesses in the first six months of 2019 and is on track to achieve its double-digit sales growth in the Pharma Biotech & Nutrition (LPBN) sector. Recently, the company confirmed the expansion of its bioconjugation facilities with eleven investigational new drugs completed; Lonza sees the need to expand further based on its commitments to reduce risk and increase speed on the path to market for customers.
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Top 10 Pharma and Life Science Tech Solution Companies in Europe - 2019


Basel, Switzerland

Marc Funk, CEO

Lonza Group is a life Sciences driven chemical company that supplies active ingredients, chemical intermediates, and biotechnology solutions to the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries. The company also offers a catalog of organic intermediates for a range of applications, such as pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, vitamins, food and feedstuff, dyes and pigments, adhesives and fragrances. Furthermore, Lonza manufactures specialty biocides and oleochemicals—the company is involved in developing and producing specific polymer intermediates, unsaturated polyester-resins, compounds, and composites