French drugmaker Sanofi and Swiss contract manufacturer Lonza will build a large-scale mammalian cell culture facility for monoclonal antibody production in Visp, in the canton of Valais. According to a press release, the facility will be established through a joint venture with an initial investment of around 290 million Swiss francs shared equally between the two companies. Pending regulatory approvals, construction will start in 2017, and the site should be fully operational by 2020. Lonza has over 10,000 employees worldwide, including 2,700 in Visp. This project is expected to bring in some 200 new jobs.

This long-term strategic relationship combines the strong biologics development pipeline of Sanofi with the expertise of Lonza to design, construct and operate state-of-the-art large-scale biologics facilities. “Approximately sixty percent of our pipeline is made up of biologics, including monoclonal antibodies, dedicated to key disease areas such as cardiovascular, immunology and inflammation, neurology and oncology. Lonza is a highly experienced partner in this field and the capabilities which this joint venture will create are critical to meeting our patients’ needs for these important therapies”, said Philippe Luscan, Executive Vice President of Global Industrial Affairs with Sanofi.