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- 11/22/2017

5 minutes interview with…LONZA

Pharma Horizon

Five minutes at CPhI worldwide with …  




Jan Vertommen  - Senior Director Product Development

Jan Vertommen  – Senior Director Product Development

CT/PH: How is the Capsugel integration within Lonza going?

Jan Vertommen : We are only a few months into the integration but is coming along very nicely. We are seeing a strong value proposition for our customers. We are combining Lonza’s leadership in drug substance development, manufacturing and commercialization with Capsugel’s capabilities in drug product intermediates and finished dosage forms. Lonza is known for its capability to produce highly potent APIs and we are known for our innovative enabling technologies to solve the complex dosage forms challenges for today’s high potent APIs. Together, we can help our customers meet their increasingly challenging target product profile and bring the product to market faster.

CT/PH: What is the timetable for the integration?

JV: It is a continuous collaboration as we bring together our R&D, product development and manufacturing teams, providing solutions to customer’s challenges.

CT/PH: Will Capsugel seamlessly integrate into the Lonza CDMO pipeline?

JV: Over the next year, the business will be completely integrated across all areas.

CT/PH: Is this a strategic move towards a one-stop solution CDMO?

JV:  Yes. But, ultimately, we are problem solvers. Our customers come to us so we can help them match the right technology to address their challenge. They may want to work with us from feasibility through to commercialization or they may come to us for a specific expertise. We believe that a focus on optimized product design combined with phase-appropriate processing translates into the most efficient pathway to clinical studies and commercialization.

CT/PH: What innovations will this integration bring on?

JV: Capsugel has recently developed an enTRinsic drug delivery technology — capsules with enteric protection and targeted release of acid sensitive APIs without the need for coatings. If we can combine this with Lonza’s expertise in biologics, we have the potential to change the delivery of  products that now have to be delivered as injections. The oral route may  be an option for some of them. This will provide customers with an entirely new direction in the market, combining the biological know-how of Lonza with Capsugel’s enTRinsic drug delivery technology. We are not fully there but we are working hard to put forward innovative offers so far unseen in the market.

CT/PH: Is the rise of biologics providing further challenges?
JV: For sure. Another emerging area of work is around the microbiome space as a novel point of intervention. This new area of interest explores whether bacterial strains are capable to cure diseases, but how do you deliver them? You have to be sure that the bacteria are not killed in the acid stomach environment. Again, enTRinsic dosage forms can fully protect the bacteria in the stomach allowing these bacteria to be released from the drug delivery capsule in the intestine to colonize the gut microbiome. This is just one example of many possible new areas of innovation.

CT/PH: What trends are you seeing in the next few years in dosage formulations?
JV: Big pharma is continuing to outsource and they are looking for partners with certain capacity, capability and longevity. We noticed that many big pharma companies continue to specialize in their areas of strength, including drug discovery, clinical trials, registration and commercialization. However, they are looking for external partners to outsource a range of services from API production to final dosage forms. I believe Lonza is the perfect fit to this market trend, and we will only strengthen our capabilities in the coming years.

CT/PH: What puts Lonza/Capsugel on top of the competition?
JV: It’s about the full scope and depth of our offerings. We provide comprehensive capability across all of our product options – drug substance, drug substance intermediates and finished drug product. It  allows us to be a customer’s partner from start to finish.

CT/PH: What is your take from CPhI 2017?
JV: I was at the Capsugel booth yesterday and it was the busiest day in five years. It seems that the market is getting the message. Our customers are as excited as we are about how Lonza can partner to help bring their new medicine to market. There are great things to be done.



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