Swiss chemicals and biotechnology firm Lonza is set to build two mammalian drug substance manufacturing facilities in Visp, Switzerland and Portsmouth, US that will entail an investment of about CHF850m ($937m).

In Visp, the company will develop a new large-scale mammalian drug substance manufacturing facility covering an area of about 27,500m². The new facility will expand the capacity with six 20,000L bioreactors to meet demand in biologics.

The Visp facility, which will involve an investment of about CHF650m ($717m), has been designed to optimise energy efficiency and water use.

It will include perfusion capabilities and is designed to support high titer processes and accommodate the next-generation of mammalian biologics.

Expected to be operational in 2024, the site will support Lonza’s existing sites in Tuas (SG), Portsmouth (US) and Porriño (ES).

In Portsmouth, Lonza will construct a new next-generation facility covering an area of 3,000m².

The facility will add capacity for up to eight 2,000L single-use bioreactors and support late-phase clinical and commercial development and manufacturing capabilities.

Expected to cost CHF200m ($220m), the facility will include the latest technologies in perfusion, purification, and automation. It has been designed to support Phase 3 clinical and commercial small- to mid-volume products.

The Portsmouth site is expected to be operational in 2023 and will complement the company’s existing single-use network at Lonza sites in Hayward, US, Slough, UK, Tuas, Singapore and Visp.

The company said that more than 300 new jobs will be created in Visp, while 250 new positions will be added in Portsmouth.

Lonza CEO Pierre-Alain Ruffieux said:  “As we look at the biologics market, we see a combination of growth at pace coupled with continuing high customer demand. In recent months, the Covid-19 pandemic has placed the spotlight on supply chains and the critical role CDMOs play in ensuring an adequate supply of medicines.

“The expansion of both our large-scale and small-scale manufacturing capacity will ensure Lonza continues to deliver industry-leading contract manufacturing services that will support our customers’ needs in the medium and long term.”