Love Your Location
In 2018, Switzerland-based company Lonza debuted a 300,000-square-foot life science facility in Pearland, the largest dedicated cell and gene therapy manufacturing facility in the world at the time.
What made one of the world's largest companies for contract development and manufacturing choose Lower Kirby for this groundbreaking building?
"The location was ideal for the expansion capability, proximity to the Texas Medical Center, and ease of access from major freeways 288 and Beltway 8," says Frank Bugg, Lonza's site head. "Many Lonza employees also reside in the Pearland area."
The company also sought a location for this "Center of Excellence" that would maintain a presence on the "third coast" of biotech. Lonza currently employs more than 500 at its Pearland facility.
Additional factors that made Pearland's Lower Kirby District an attractive choice for Lonza were the nearby life sciences community, infrastructure, and quality-of-life benefits such as top-rated schools and a reasonable cost of living.
The team at this location is currently leading efforts in four categories: research and development, process development, cell and gene therapy manufacturing, and viral vector manufacturing.
Cell and gene therapy is growing and these novel medicines are getting established as a validated treatment option — the field is transforming the way cancer or genetic diseases can be treated.
In 2019, Lonza provided manufacturing services for more than 300 commercial molecules and supported the development of more than 700 pre-clinical and clinical molecules in small and large molecules, as well as supporting the launch of pioneering autologous cell therapies.
These novel drug candidates provide drastically improved patient outcomes and, in some cases, can be curative. However, manufacturing of such medicines pose complex new challenges.
Today, the cost of production still represents a major hurdle for clinical translation and commercialization of these potentially groundbreaking therapies. New technologies are needed to enable robust and cost-efficient manufacturing of high-quality medicines.
While the therapeutic opportunities for patients are exciting, the stakes for patients and drug developers are high.
Lonza serves as a partner to its customers, keeping manufacturing costs under control and following the process through the regulatory bodies through to commercialization.
The company also helps develop and commercialize its customers' innovative new therapies. Lonza scientists and engineers bring decades-long development experience across a broad spectrum of cell types and technologies. With this background, they can tailor services in process and analytical development, manufacturing, and regulatory support.
The work done at Lonza is at the forefront of medical breakthroughs. These cell and gene therapies are shaping the way we treat modern diseases, and now it's being done right in Houston's own backyard.
Since the Pearland facility's opening in 2018, Lonza has continued to expand with the addition of laboratories, clean rooms, and additional parking.