Lonza builds its ADC capacity with Synaffix takeover

Lonza manufacturing

Lonza has boosted its ability to cater for customers in the fast-emerging antibody-drug conjugate category with a deal to buy Dutch company Synaffix and its platform technology for designing and developing new ADC therapies.

The deal is a canny move by Lonza – one of the top contract development and manufacturing organisations in life sciences – as it will immediately inherit Synaffix’ portfolio of 13 or more ADCs that have been built with its tech, several of which are already in clinical development.

That includes a recently upgraded alliance with MacroGenics, covering up to seven programmes, with a potential deal value of around $2.2 billion, plus partnerships with Amgen, Johnson & Johnson, ADC Therapeutics, Mersana, and others.

Synaffix has set itself up as a one-stop-shop for ADC developers, with a platform that it says allows any antibody to be quickly converted into a stable ADC using its proprietary linker and payload technologies, creating drugs that are less likely to deliver their payload prematurely and cause side effects.

According to the biotech, there are more than 20 ADCs now in development that were built using Synaffix’ proprietary platform, including five that have already started human trials. It is also applying its expertise to bispecific antibodies, another fast-emerging category of drugs.

Lonza – which generated nearly $7 billion in revenues last year from its CDMO activities, more than half of that from biologics – said the deal would expand its bioconjugates division, which provides manufacturing services to the category from facilities in Visp, Switzerland.

The group is paying €100 million ($107 million) in cash upfront for Synaffix, with another €60 million tied to performance targets. Synaffix will continue to operate under the Synaffix name from its base in Oss in the Netherlands, but its revenues will be recognised by Lonza from the date of acquisition.

“The Synaffix ADC technology is the gold standard, helping clinical-stage developers to design potentially curative therapies in areas of high unmet medical need,” commented Ulrich Osswald, Lonza’s head of licensing.

“The acquisition of Synaffix underlines the strategic position of bioconjugates within Lonza’s portfolio, expands our offering in this fast-growing market, and enhances our value proposition for clinical customers,” he added.

According to market research firm MRFR, the ADC market is predicted to grow from a value of $2.3 billion last year to $6.8 billion in 2030, driven by the development of safer drug candidates that avoid some of the toxicity issues seen with early therapies.