A new Collaborative Innovation Center in the Haifa Life Science Park, Haifa, Israel, developed and managed by Lonza Pharma & Biotech, will acts as a hub for partnerships to identify, rethink and accelerate new solutions for biopharmaceutical manufacturing.
In the new 1,000 m2 (10,764 ft2) facility, which includes lab space equipped with cutting-edge bioprocessing and analytical equipment, Lonza will be working together with a number of collaborating partners to develop a test bed for new ideas and technology. In addition to infrastructure, Lonza will also make funding and in-house expertise available for collaborative research into strategic areas of application relevant to a variety of biopharma development needs.
This novel approach is expected to help startup projects in collaboration with Israeli talent in academia, medical institutions and early-stage innovative companies
“Israel has established itself as a point of convergence for digital technologies, engineering and life sciences, providing new solutions for healthcare in particular,” said Marc Funk, COO Lonza Pharma & Biotech…. “[And] we want to expand this potential to reimagine the development and manufacturing of future medicines by working with academic institutions, teaching hospitals and startups,” Funk further noted.
The Collaborative Innovation Center is open to ideas that might benefit Lonza customers and has already signed up with leading institutions in Israel on research projects in three key focus areas:
- Expression systems and synthetic biology to enable efficient scale up of the increasingly complex protein-based constructs currently in early stage pipelines. Lonza is expanding on its successful GS System® to develop a novel toolbox of solutions for hard-to-express proteins and new molecular formats.
- Increasing numbers of cell and gene therapies are advancing towards commercialization but manufacturing technology remains relatively immature. Lonza hopes to combine its in house knowledge and technology with local expertise and proximity to teaching hospitals and academic institutions, driving reliable and repeatable processes and enabling more patients to access these therapies.
- Data acquisition and analytics are essential to driving efficiency and consistency in manufacturing processes. Lonza’s Collaborative Innovation Center will tap into the wealth of expertise in sensor technology and big data handling to develop better in-line testing and predictive analytics to optimize and control bioprocesses.
Chaim Sheba Medical Center
Several projects are currently underway including with the Center for Regenerative Medicine, Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center, a leader in the field of CAR-T therapies. Lonza and Sheba will be working together to evaluate and test the Cocoon™ manufacturing technology, a patient-scale, closed and automated cell-therapy manufacturing system.
“Advanced autologous cell therapies are growing to become a major part of future medicine. High-quality manufacturing at point-of-care, is a key challenge in making these applicable,” said Elad Jacoby, MD, an attending physician at the Sheba Medical Center, in Tel Hashomer near Tel Aviv, one of the most comprehensive medical center in the Middle East known for its compassionate care and leading-edge medicine.
“We have treated more than 60 children and young adults with leukemia and lymphoma with CAR-T cells, which makes Sheba Medical Center the ideal place to help drive new technologies that could extend treatment to even more young people,” he added.
“The collaboration with Lonza will enable us to develop a growing platform for production of CAR-T and other cell therapies,” Jacoby noted.
The Collaborative Innovation Center sits at the interface of Lonza’s extensive R&D network, with eight sites globally, and the Israeli innovation community. The new center will be run by Frida Grynspan-Gotlieb, Ph.D, who brings her extensive R&D experience in the Israeli biotech and life sciences sectors.