Lonza Ousts CEO? He Made Big Bets on Moderna/mRNA COVID-19 Vax, Waning Demand in Supply Chain?
...and so begins the investor exit of all exits!
Article in TrialSite News quoting yours truly
Reproduced with the kind permission of TSN:
Lonza, one of the world’s major contract development and manufacturing outsourcing organizations for the life science industry, including biotech and pharmaceutical companies announced some changes to be discussed on Capital Markets Day on October 17, 2023. The company’s CEO, Pierre-Alain Ruffieux, will depart the company by the end of this month based on a “mutual agreement.” In a move clearly not fully optimal (e.g., no successor in place), the company announced in a press release that Albert M. Baehny, Chairman, will take on the additional responsibility of Chief Executive Officer on an interim basis until a permanent successor is appointed.
A so-called “medium-term strategy” and associated company outlook will be discussed in the forthcoming Capital Markets Day.
The “ad hoc announcement” was made pursuant to Art. 53 LR.
The global pharmaceutical CDMO market size was valued at USD 94.17 billion in 2022 and will expand to reach USD 172.02 billion by 2032 with a CAGR of 6.21% from 2023 to 2032 according to market research firm Precedence Research. While the figures may change based on research group, the growth in CDMO services has been clear with leaders such as Lonza, Catalent, Wuxi, Fareva SA, Recipharm AB, Samsung and others.
TrialSite notes that a huge ramp up was involved with Lonza’s deal with Moderna. In May 2020, the parties announced a 10-year strategic collaboration enabling the production of the mRNA-1273 and related COVID-19 vaccine plus additional future products. Lonza installed three production lines at its Visp, Switzerland site and one planned in the future.
By April 2021, both Lonza and Moderna inked a deal doubling production including three more production lines at Visp. The deal also called for sequential online activation, with all three planned to be operational by early 2022. CEO Pierre-Alain Ruffieux was quoted during each one of these deals. He banked on COVID-19 and the government’s ability to prime the pump of demand during national and a global emergency.
How have times changed. Moderna’s largest market opportunity, the United States, turned on the product with an abysmal 17% of eligible individuals opting to take the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines during the last vaccine booster campaign season starting September 2022.
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