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Lonza and Vertex Break Ground on Manufacturing Facility, Seeking Cure for Diabetes

Published Thursday Nov 2, 2023

Author Scott Merrill

Officials and dignitaries break ground for the new Lonza manufacturing facility. (Courtesy of Lonza Biologics)

Two biopharmaceutical/biotech companies broke ground on Aug. 30 for a manufacturing facility in Portsmouth that could one day produce drugs that cure Type 1 diabetes.

The 130,000-square-foot facility, located at the Pease International Tradeport, is a partnership between Lonza Biologics, also located at Pease, a manufacturer of cell and gene therapies with experience supporting the commercialization of cell therapy products, and Boston-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals, which has two stem-cell derived therapies for Type 1 diabetes (T1-D) undergoing clinical trials.

Vertex and Lonza will partner in developing and scaling manufacturing of the products and are co-investing to build the facility that will be operated by Lonza. Vertex has stated the project could bring 300 jobs to the area.

Vertex’s two therapies that the Lonza facility will support are currently in clinical trials that have shown promising results, according to a June report by Vertex.

“Establishing this strategic partnership with Lonza, a world-class manufacturing organization, is a critical milestone in Vertex’s journey to transform the treatment of Type 1 diabetes,” says Vertex President and CEO Reshma Kewalramani.

Adds Pierre-Alain Ruffieux, CEO of Lonza, “The facility will play a major role in delivering Vertex’s ambition to shape the future for patients living with T1-D. Portsmouth is the ideal location for the new facility, as it enables us to build upon our existing infrastructure, capabilities and talent in the area.”

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