Vertex & Lonza Partner to Create Cell Therapy’s Future: Dedicated Manufacturing Facility for People with Type 1 Diabetes

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Nasdaq: VRTX) and Lonza (SIX: LONN) announced an exciting collaboration that will make strides in improving the lives of individuals with T1D. The two giants plan to produce Vertex’s portfolio of investigational stem-cell-derived, fully differentiated insulin-producing islet cell therapies, with a focus on their VX-880 and VX-264 clinical programs.

Last week, exciting results emerged from their first clinical program, VX-880, where all six patients engrafted islet cells, produced endogenous insulin (C-peptide), and improved glycemic control—all while eliminating severe hypoglycemic events in the evaluation period. This remarkable progress demonstrates Vertex and Lonza’s revolutionary approach to diabetes treatment.

Vertex is collaborating with Lonza to develop innovative approaches to produce therapeutic insulin-producing cells. Their first approach, VX-880, is a fully differentiated cell-based therapy in the midst of Phase 1/2 clinical testing. Their second approach, VX-264, encapsulates the same cells in a shielding device to eliminate the need for immunosuppression.

The hypoimmune program, involving edited cells to cloak them from the immune system, is in the preclinical development stage. To bring these treatments to the public, Vertex and Lonza are co-investing to build a new facility in Portsmouth, New Hampshire with a projected area of more than 130,000 square feet, creating up to 300 new jobs at peak capacity. Construction starts later this year – an exciting opportunity for all of us!

Lonza, a world-class manufacturing organization, has entered a strategic partnership with Vertex to support the development and commercialization of the latter’s potentially transformative therapies. This dedicated facility will help to de-risk, commercialize and scale Vertex’s allogeneic, fully differentiated, insulin-producing islet cells for the treatment of T1D.

This breakthrough has the potential to revolutionize the treatment landscape of this disease. Through this partnership, Vertex will benefit from Lonza’s expertise in scientific, regulatory and manufacturing aspects, as well as its operational excellence and first-hand experience in commercializing marketed cell therapy products. Together, they embark on a mission to provide hope of an improved quality of life for those affected by T1D.

About Vertex

Vertex is a pioneering biotechnology company revolutionising the fight against serious diseases. The company already has several approved medicines for the treatment of cystic fibrosis, one of the most rare and life-threatening genetic diseases. Vertex is also actively researching and developing innovative treatments for illnesses such as sickle cell disease, beta thalassemia, APOL1-mediated kidney disease, acute and neuropathic pain, type 1 diabetes and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency with their cutting-edge technologies of small molecule, mRNA, cell and genetic therapies (including gene editing). With their breakthrough treatments, Vertex is hoping to transform the lives of patients worldwide.

Vertex, founded in 1989 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a leader in the innovation sector, having recently relocated its global headquarters to the heart of Boston’s bustling Innovation District and its international headquarters to London. Their renowned R&D sites and commercial offices span the globe, from North America and Europe to Australia and Latin America. But their reputation doesn’t just come from their reach as a multinational — Vertex has earned their place on the list of industry’s top places to work for over a decade, including 13 consecutive years on Science magazine’s Top Employers list and a coveted spot on Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

About Lonza

Lonza is a global partner to the pharmaceutical, biotech, and nutrition industries, determined to make the world a healthier place. Founded in 1897, Lonza operates across five continents and has grown to employ over 17,500 people. Our dedicated teams use their world-class manufacturing, scientific expertise, and technological insight to create innovative medicines that treat a wide range of diseases.

We are proud to offer our customers a comprehensive set of services across our four divisions: Biologics, Small Molecules, Cell & Gene, and Capsules & Health Ingredients. Our breadth of capabilities allows our customers to easily and effectively commercialize their discoveries and inventions. In FY22, Lonza achieved a CORE EBITDA of CHF 2.0 billion, more than ever before. Join us in paving the way for a healthier future.

Vertex Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Vertex believes that its investigational T1D cell therapy portfolio has the potential to transform the treatment of Type 1 diabetes, and the company is collaborating with Lonza to build a manufacturing facility to support clinical and commercial production. This new facility is expected to create up to 300 jobs and bring numerous benefits, including accelerated development and commercialization of Vertex’s therapies.

We expect the T1D programs to enable us to explore innovative new treatments with the potential to improve the lives of patients, and we are investing in this initiative to make it a success. However, there are risks and uncertainties involved, including the possibility of delays in construction of the facility or changes to our plans and objectives.

Additional Information and Disclaimer

Lonza Group Ltd, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. It also enjoys a secondary listing on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited (“SGX-ST”). Although this listing does not subject it to the SGX-ST’s continuing listing requirements, Lonza Group Ltd is still subject to Rules 217 and 751 of the SGX-ST Listing Manual.

Investors should exercise caution as forward-looking statements made in this news release involve risks and uncertainty, and actual results may differ from the expectations provided. However, absent any legal requirement to the contrary, Lonza Group Ltd disclaims any intention or obligation to update the statements in this news release.

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