Lonza to buy Roche biologics manufacturing site in California for $1.2B

Published: Mar 20, 2024

By Tyler Patchen


Swiss contract manufacturer Lonza announced Wednesday it is spending $1.2 billion in cash to acquire a Roche manufacturing facility in Vacaville, California, to increase its large-scale biologics manufacturing capacity.

The site, designed to produce large-scale biologics for Roche’s Genentech, will help Lonza meet the demand for commercial mammalian products from other companies and make molecules in development, according to the announcement.

The Vacaville facility has a total bioreactor capacity of an estimated 330,000 liters, which Lonza contends is one of the largest biologics manufacturing sites in the world by volume. Lonza said that around 750 Genentech employees at the site will be offered employment under the Swiss company.  

Apart from the $1.2 billion price tag, Lonza plans to invest around CHF 500 million ($561.3 million) into the facility. The contract manufacturer said it plans to “enhance capabilities” to satisfy demand for the “next generation” of mammalian biologics. The products currently produced at the site by Roche will be supplied by Lonza, which has also committed to making these products over the medium term but will phase them out over time. A presentation by Lonza said that Roche will use around 30% of the site in 2025.

The transaction is expected to close sometime in the second half of this year.

“The Vacaville site is a highly valuable strategic acquisition that will make capacity immediately available for our customers and unlock future growth for our biologics division. It will support us in providing a commercialization path to existing customers and incremental large-scale commercial capacity to our partners,” Jean-Christophe Hyvert, president of biologics at Lonza, said in a statement.

The site in Vacaville was originally a Genentech site but was acquired by Roche in 2009. Last year, Roche announced it would divest and look for a buyer for the Vacaville facility. The company said this was part of a broader strategy to evolve its manufacturing capabilities and align them with its pipeline requirements.  

Source: BioSpace