Lonza works with Humanigen on COVID-19 drug candidate lenzilumab

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss pharmaceutical group Lonza is seen at its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss contract drug maker Lonza struck a deal with California-based biopharmaceutical company Humanigen to expand manufacturing capacity for Humanigen’s lenzilumab, a drug candidate in late-stage clinical trials for COVID-19.

Lenzilumab is in phase III clinical trials to determine whether the drug can prevent and treat an immune hyper-response in COVID-19 patients called “cytokine storm”, the companies said in a statement on Tuesday.

The collaboration with Lonza will provide Humanigen with additional production capacity for lenzilumab at Lonza’s facilities at Hayward, California, with operations intended to start in 2021, the companies said.

Lonza is also working with Moderna to make its COVID-19 vaccine candidate and with China’s Junshi Biosciences to help produce a neutralizing antibody against COVID-19.

Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz