Mesoblast to Mass-Produce Stem-Cell Drugs in Pact With Lonza

Mesoblast Ltd. (MSB), the world’s largest developer of stem-cell treatments, will form a manufacturing alliance with Lonza Group AG (LONN) as it prepares to mass-produce its regenerative therapies.

Under the agreement, Mesoblast can instruct Basel, Switzerland-based Lonza to build a dedicated manufacturing plant for its products in exchange for buying “agreed quantities” of those items, the companies said in a joint statement today.

Mesoblast’s experimental spinal and heart failure treatments are in the final of three stages of patient studies usually required by regulators. The Melbourne-based company has more than tripled over the past 12 months, making it the best performing stock on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index. Lonza is the world’s biggest maker of drug ingredients and also offers contract manufacturing for pharmaceutical companies.

“It means that we as a company have taken out the entire risk of the manufacturing by shifting it” to Lonza, Mesoblast Chief Executive Officer Silviu Itescu said in an interview. The alliance would guarantee long-term supply of its products, according to the statement.

Mesoblast gained as much as 5.3 percent on the Australian Stock Exchange today. The stock traded at 4.5 percent higher at A$7.94 at 10:31 a.m. Sydney time.

Lonza is planning a secondary listing on the Singapore Stock Exchange in the fourth quarter of 2011, the Swiss company said on Sept. 16.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natasha Khan in Hong Kong

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Gale at

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