Monday, Dec 15, 2003
South San Francisco, Calif. and Basel, Switzerland -- December 15, 2003 --Genentech, Inc. (NYSE: DNA) and Lonza Group Ltd. today announced that the companies have entered into a long-term manufacturing agreement under which Lonza Biologics will manufacture commercial quantities of Rituxan® (Rituximab) for Genentech at Lonza's production facility in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.
"We consider Lonza to be a leader in the area of custom manufacturing, and we are pleased to announce this manufacturing agreement with them," said David Ebersman, Genentech's senior vice president of Product Operations. "Genentech is focused on delivering life-improving and life-saving therapies to patients. This agreement complements our current manufacturing capabilities and allows us flexibility in our existing facilities to respond to any increased demand for our therapeutic antibody products."
"Lonza is pleased to enter into this significant manufacturing agreement with Genentech," said Markus Gemuend, chief executive officer, Lonza Group. "Having been selected by the world leader in biopharmaceutical manufacturing as their first bulk contract manufacturing partner for their top product represents a major milestone for us, further strengthening our customer base and adding another approved drug to our manufacturing portfolio. With this agreement our new large scale facility in Portsmouth is nearly fully utilized."
Rituxan is a therapeutic antibody that binds to a particular protein -- the CD20 antigen -- on the surface of normal and malignant B-cells. It then recruits the body's natural defenses to attack and kill the marked B-cells. Stem cells (B-cell progenitors) in bone marrow lack the CD20 antigen, allowing healthy B-cells to regenerate after treatment and return to normal levels within several months.
Rituxan is indicated as a single-agent treatment for relapsed or refractory low-grade or follicular, CD20 positive, B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. More than 300,000 patients have been treated with Rituxan worldwide.
Genentech and Biogen Idec Inc. co-market Rituxan in the United States. Roche markets Rituxan in the rest of the world, except Japan where Rituxan is co-marketed by Roche and Zenyaku Kogyo Co. Ltd.
Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes biotherapeutics for significant unmet medical needs. Sixteen of the currently approved biotechnology products originated from or are based on Genentech science. Genentech manufactures and commercializes 12 biotechnology products directly in the United States. The company has headquarters in South San Francisco, California and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DNA. For press releases and additional information about the company, please visit http://www.gene.com.
Lonza is a Life Sciences driven company headquartered in Switzerland, with sales of CHF 2.54 billion in 2002 and operating 18 production and R&D facilities in 8 countries. It employs 6,200 people worldwide and is the leading custom manufacturer of active chemical ingredients, intermediates and biotechnology solutions to the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries. It also offers organic intermediates for a wide range of applications and provides antimicrobial and associated products as well as polymer intermediates and compounds. For more information on Lonza please visit the company's website at http://www.lonza.com.