Lonza to collaborate with Nikon to accelerate cell and gene therapy manufacturing in Japan

Nikon will establish a wholly owned cell and gene therapy manufacturing business called Nikon CeLL innovation

Lonza is to collaborate with Nikon in the field of cell and gene therapy manufacturing in Japan.

Under a new facility support and licensing agreement, Nikon gains access to Lonza’s quality and operating systems, facility design and consulting services to establish a wholly owned Nikon cell and gene therapy contract manufacturing business called Nikon CeLL innovation. The manufacturing facility is expected to be located in the Tokyo/Yokohama area of Japan and should be completed by the first half of 2017.

Meanwhile, Nikon expects contract process development to start in the second half of this year.

The use of somatic stem cells (haematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells) is already gaining momentum in the US and European biotechnology and pharmaceutical markets, with the use of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) following quickly behind.

This collaboration will contribute greatly to the growth of the global cell and gene therapy market

In addition, virally modified gene therapy has demonstrated promising clinical results in multiple disease indications, including cancer. Using viral vectors, immune and stem cells can be genetically modified and reintroduced to the patient as a targeted therapy.

The global reach of the regenerative medicine market and the advancement of stem cell manufacturing have driven this collaboration in Japan, said Lonza.

Nikon will acquire from Lonza the technical know-how to differentiate and manufacture cells, including somatic stem cells, as well as Lonza’s quality and safety evaluation standards and operational procedures in the manufacturing process. The collaboration aims to accelerate Nikon’s efforts to realise future practical applications of iPSCs in regenerative medicine.

Andreas Weiler, Head of Emerging Technologies, Lonza Pharma&Biotech, said: 'This collaboration will contribute greatly to the growth of the global cell and gene therapy market. We are utilising our expertise built over the last decade to work with Nikon in bringing high-quality, innovative development and manufacturing to Japan. Because of its work in iPSC technology, we believe Nikon is an ideal partner for this collaboration in regenerative medicine.'

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