30 Jan 2023
Lonza Expands Manufacturing Collaboration With Asher Biotherapeutics to Include AB248, a Cis-Targeted IL-2 Immunotherapy
  • Asher Bio’s lead drug candidate AB248, a cis-targeted IL-2 immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer, to be manufactured at Lonza’s site in Visp (CH)
  • Agreement builds upon successful existing collaboration to manufacture AB359, a cis-targeted IL-2 immunotherapy for the treatment of chronic infectious diseases

Basel, Switzerland, 30 January 2023 – Asher Biotherapeutics, Inc. (Asher Bio), a biotechnology company developing precisely-targeted immunotherapies for cancer, chronic viral infections and autoimmune disorders, has expanded its manufacturing agreement with Lonza to include the manufacturing of AB248.

AB248, Asher Bio’s lead cis-targeted immunotherapy, is a fusion protein that selectively activates the IL-2 pathway in CD8+ T cells, which are key drivers of anti-tumor efficacy. By maximizing the activity of IL-2 on CD8+ T cells, while limiting its activity on immunosuppressive regulatory T cells (Tregs) and NK cells, AB248 is designed to deliver improved on-target pharmacology, antitumor immunity, and enhanced tolerability. Asher Bio is developing AB248 for the treatment of multiple solid tumors, as both a monotherapy and in combination with checkpoint inhibitors.

Under the terms of the agreement, Lonza will manufacture AB248 at its site in Visp (CH), providing drug substance manufacturing for phase 2 clinical supply. Since fusion proteins are manufactured by joining two or more genes encoding separate proteins, their manufacturing requires specific experience with solving protein folding and stability limitations. Asher Bio will leverage Lonza’s expertise in manufacturing complex proteins, as well as the company’s extensive regulatory competence, tech transfer expertise and manufacturing network. The agreement aims to commence manufacturing in Q2 2023. 

Julie Trulson, VP Head of CMC, Asher Bio, commented: “Our extended collaboration with Lonza builds upon our very positive experience working together on AB359. We look forward to partnering with Lonza to manufacture AB248, with the goal of ensuring sufficient supply as we advance our novel immunotherapy into clinical studies later this year.”

Nik Mongroo, Executive Director, Head of Mammalian Commercial Development, Lonza, added: “We are excited to build upon a strong collaboration with Asher Bio to further support the advancement of their cis-targeted immunotherapies. This collaboration highlights our flexibility, capabilities and experience in supporting nonstandard antibody formats and demonstrates our ability to scale the manufacturing process with the growth of our customers’ pipelines.”


Additional Information

Learn more about Lonza’s Mammalian manufacturing offering here: www.lonza.com/biologics/mammalian