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Swiss Biotech Giant Lonza Inc. to Open New Facility in Houston Suburb, Will Hire 100 Initially But Hundreds of Jobs to Come

9/30/2016 5:52:30 AM

Swiss Biotech Giant Lonza Inc. to Open New Facility in Houston Suburb, Will Hire 100 Initially But Hundreds of Jobs to Come September 30, 2016
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

HOUSTON – Swiss biotech company Lonza is more than doubling the amount of space it has at its Pearland facility with an additional 150,000 square feet. That expansion will allow the Houston operations of the company to employ more than 100 people when it opens, the Houston Chronicle reported this morning.

Lonza broke ground on a 100,000 square-foot clinical manufacturing and research and development facility in March. The site will include office space, laboratories and manufacturing space, the Houston Business Journal said. Thanks to an agreement between Lonza and gene therapy company bluebird bio (BLUE), the company was able to expand its manufacturing facility. In June the two companies struck a long-term manufacturing agreement for bluebird’s Lenti-D And LentiGlobin drug products.

At the time of the deal, Marc Func, Lonza’s Pharma & Biotech Segment chief operating officer, said the deal with bluebird “is an example of Lonza's ability to be a long-term commercial partner to the cell & viral therapy industry.” That partnership is allowing Lonza to expand its scope, particularly as bluebird looks to make an announcement later this year regarding its gene therapy treatments.

"Lonza is committed to building up our cell and gene therapy capabilities in Pearland, which is a growing center for life sciences," Funk said, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The site is expected to open next year and the company anticipates additional hiring of “several hundred scientists, engineers and biotech professionals” over the next 10 years, the Journal said.
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Lonza turned to the Houston area for its site due, in part, to the large number of medical and pharmaceutical facilities in the area, including Bellicum Pharmaceuticals. Houston is also home to University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, an important research site.

“The Houston area, supported by a number of world-class scientific institutions, is an important location for Lonza to continue to develop novel therapies offering the hope of improving the lives of patients all over the world,” Funk said, according to the Chronicle.

Lonza has also planned to expand operations in Porstmouth, N.H. Lonza Biologics (LONN.VX), a division of Lonza Group, has looked to expand its operations with $200 million in capital projects that could include the hiring of more than 400 people there.

In August, Lonza acquired California-based InterHealth Nutraceuticals, Inc. for $300 million to strengthen the company’s specialty nutritional ingredients portfolio. InterHealth offers more than 15 branded ingredients, including its cornerstone ingredient, UC-II, which is revolutionizing the joint-health segment; and it complements Lonza’s existing nutritional portfolio in the area of sports nutrition, weight management, immune health and pet health.

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