Bachem & Eli Lilly partner on oligonucleotide project  

Swiss pharmaceutical company Bachem has partnered with Eli Lilly on a seven-year agreement to advance the development of oligonucleotide-based drug substances.  

The agreement will see the two companies contribute to global manufacturing capacity for oligonucleotide-based medicines for patients. 

Through the collaboration Bachem will provide the engineering infrastructure and expertise to implement Lilly’s oligonucleotide manufacturing technology. Bachem will also provide R&D and production personnel at its facilities in Bubendorf to enable the development of GMP-grade material for Lilly’s oligonucleotide-based medicines.  

Lilly has pledged to place a range of manufacturing projects with Bachem over the next seven years, as it’s expected that material supply demands will rapidly increase after the implementation of its manufacturing technology.  

Both companies expect that the annual order volume could reach up to 100 million Swiss francs, depending on whether Bachem reaches certain milestones and definite volumes are ordered by Lilly.  

Official comments   

Thomas Meier, CEO of Bachem said: “We are excited about the prospects that our strategic collaboration with Lilly has for innovating how oligonucleotides are manufactured. Investigational medicines, based on synthetically accessible oligonucleotides, hold great promise for patients suffering from a variety of diseases. For this reason, we are proud to collaborate with Lilly to unlock the full potential of this new modality.  

“Therapeutic oligonucleotides can be defined as short, single or double-stranded fragments of DNA or RNA. These therapeutic oligonucleotides create new access to targets which have previously been defined as ‘undruggable’. Through scientific research and discovery, there has been a broad expansion within drug development projects on oligonucleotide-based therapeutics. To keep up with the growth in demand, the production of oligonucleotide-based active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) is now needed at a much larger scale. 

“This collaboration between Bachem and Lilly is an example of how the biopharma and CDMO industries can work together on innovative medicines. Our aim with this particular collaboration is to jointly develop tailored engineering and equipment solutions for oligonucleotides, thus improving quality and reducing manufacturing cost and time to market.” 

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