BASEL, Switzerland & IRVINE, Calif.—At the beginning of November, Lonza Group AG and Cryoport Inc. announced their partnership in the cell and gene therapy field, and across Lonza’s delivery network. As part of this commitment, Lonza announced Cryoport as its preferred partner in the transport and delivery of patient tissues.
According to Tom Heinzen, vice president of corporate development at Cryoport, “Cryoport and Lonza have a long-established working relationship. Cryoport has provided logistics support for various Lonza global facilities for over three years. This partnership is a key part of a wider goal for both Lonza and Cryoport to create a network of partnerships and capabilities that enable a seamless vein-to-vein delivery of cell and gene therapies for both customers and patients.”
He says that the companies aim to remove the supply chain hurdles faced by autologous and matched-allogeneic drug developers as they prepare for clinical phase, and the commercial launch of their therapies.
“There is no doubt that this partnership enables us to provide a best-in-class solution to cell and gene therapy companies for manufacturing and supply chain services, allowing us to provide a fully integrated solution that reduces risk and increases transparency,” commented Alberto Santagostino, a senior vice president and head of the Cell & Gene Technologies division at Lonza.
Lonza’s network of cell and gene therapy facilities spans the United States, Europe and Asia. It serves both clinical and commercial customers globally. Heinzen points out that Cryoport currently supports more than 425 clinical trials, three commercial therapies in the regenerative medicine space and operates in over 100 countries around the world.
“This partnership provides our client base with a best-in-class manufacturing partner with significant global capacity that is integrated with our distribution platform. We can refer key clients to Lonza with the knowledge that they will receive a quality partner to manufacture their drug product,” Heinzen states.
“Clinical trial activity in the cell and gene therapy sector is growing and progressing rapidly. As more therapies approach commercialization, the need for a standardized, integrated outsourced manufacturing and distribution solution becomes magnified,” he continues. “This agreement brings into alignment the world’s leading providers of outsourced manufacturing and logistics for regenerative therapies.”
SVB Leerink analysts have noted that “the preferred partnership brings CYRX [Cryoport] even closer to the well-recognized cell and gene therapy manufacturer. We expect CYRX to invest in expanding their presence in other areas where Lonza has facilities, including Northeast US, Amsterdam, Singapore and Japan to maintain and build their relationships with their best in class manufacturing partner ... Though financial terms were not disclosed, we view this as a directional positive for CYRX as they capitalize on a fast growing cell and gene therapy market with limited competition at this time.”
The goal of the partnership is to provide fully integrated solutions, including co-location of manufacturing, bioservices and distribution facilities to improve and enhance responsiveness and optimized product workflow. The partnership will also offer automated data management with integrated data entry and process optimization that reduces risk, increases transparency and improves certainty.
“Beyond Cryoport’s set of proprietary Express shippers, this partnership brings to the market an integrated IT solution which provides risk mitigation and chain of compliance regulatory solutions to all Lonza clients,” explains Heinzen. “In addition, Cryoport will be proximally locating facilities near key Lonza manufacturing sites to provide better responsiveness, lower risk, and a higher service level for our mutual client base.”
“Clinical trial activity in the cell and gene therapy sector is rapidly growing as biopharmaceutical companies discover new ways to harness regenerative therapies and combat illnesses. As more and more of these therapies approach commercialization, there is strengthening demand for reliable, integrated outsourced manufacturing and distribution solutions,” added Jerrell Shelton, CEO of Cryoport.
“Our joint customers are creating innovative therapies that have a chance to cure different types of cancers or diseases that have never had an effective treatment option before now. To be a part of the process of bringing new hope to patients is absolutely fantastic and it drives our teams forward every day. As part of every process, a patient is often waiting and Lonza and Cryoport must do everything we can to make sure that they get their therapy as safely and quickly as we can,” Heinzen concludes.