Author Archives: Dan Stanton

Fujifilm pumps $120m into US gene therapy development and manufacturing

An innovation center and additional cGMP manufacturing capacity make up Fujifilm Corporation’s plans to bolster its gene therapy capabilities at its site in Texas. It is no secret that the demand for gene therapy services is outstripping supply, with a shortage of viral vector capacity meaning contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) with manufacturing capabilities are rarely struggling to fill their space. To keep up with industry demand, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies (FDB) – the CDMO of Fujifilm Corporation – has…

BioProcess International 2019 Event Report

The 2019 BioProcess International Conference and Exhibition, held in Boston, MA from 9–12 September, was a testament to the rapid expansion of the biopharmaceutical industry. Nearly 150 speakers chronicled recent developments and continuing challenges in upstream production, downstream processing, drug product manufacturing, and emerging therapies production. And with more than 150 poster presentations and over 200 companies participating, the BPI exhibit hall never better embodied the industry’s efforts to support increasingly diverse but related audiences. In this event report, BioProcess…

Evotec to settle on Seattle for first commercial J.POD facility

Six months on from acquiring Just.Bio, Germany’s Evotec has laid plans to build its first US-based commercial biologics modular facility in Seattle. German R&D firm Evotec jumped into the biologics manufacturing space in May 2019 through the $90 million acquisition (€82 million) of Just.Bio. The offerings gained from Just.Bio include a large molecule manufacturing design platform known as J.DESIGN, and a lab and computational tool for rapid development of a high-yielding manufacturing process called JP3. Evotec also gained a cGMP…

Who got the Funk? Not Lonza, as CEO unexpectedly quits

Marc Funk has stepped down from his position as CEO after only nine months and is leaving Lonza, citing personal reasons. Marc Funk was made CEO of Swiss contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Lonza in March this year, after his predecessor Richard Ridinger retired following a seven-year tenure. But just nine months on, Lonza has announced Funk is leaving the company “for personal reasons,” handing the CEO baton to chairman Albert Baehny on an interim basis until a permanent…

Abuse in cell banking services a global problem, says industry consortium

The International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy (ISCT) has formed a consortium to tackle what it says is a rising number of unscrupulous and unproven cell banking players. With the rise of interest in the cell and gene therapy sector, industry and the market have been plagued with unproven products and services from rogue actors looking to profit from ill-informed and sometimes desperate patients. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) laid down a framework to tackle unapproved stem…

Horizon Discovery divests animal model biz to focus on cell lines

Envigo will acquire the rodent model business from Horizon Discovery for an undisclosed fee. The unit brought in £4.6 million ($5.9 million) of revenues in FY18. All assets and employees working at Horizon Discovery’s in vivo research model facilities in Boyertown, Pennsylvania and St Louis, Missouri, will be transferred to contract research organization (CRO) Envigo for an undisclosed nominal consideration satisfied in cash. “In vivo employs 46 people and generated £4.6 million in fiscal year 2018, and contributed an adjusted…

Vetter to use robotics in aseptic production processes

Vetter says the use of artificial intelligence will become ever more specific in the biopharma production space and plans to use robotics in aseptic processes. German fill/finish and pharma services firm Vetter has completed a pilot project using a dual-arm robot in secondary packaging. “Robotics have been widespread in pharmaceutical manufacturing for many years. At Vetter, for example, we have been using classical robotics in our pharmaceutical production since the 1990’s,” Vetter spokesperson Markus Kirchner told this publication. “We see…

Catalent reports 50% y-o-y biologics growth as gene therapy enters the mix

Catalent says the integration of Paragon Bioservices’ gene therapy assets is progressing ahead of expectations. The CDMO reported quarterly sales in its biologics division of $189 million. For the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, Catalent reported revenues of $665 million (€600 million). For the contract development and manufacturing organization’s (CDMO) biologics division the quarter saw sales of $189 million, up 50% on the same period last year. Catalent has grown its biologics offering over the past few years, investing…

Algenex looks to moth-based expression to disrupt bioprocessing

Algenex says its insect pupae-based expression platform CrisBio could disrupt the biologics space as the EMA receives the first submission for a vaccine using the technology. Earlier this month, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) accepted a submission to review for a recombinant virus like particle (VLP)-based vaccine produced using Algenex’ proprietary CrisBio technology. While the dossier submitted was for a veterinary vaccine, Algenex said this first submission helps validate the CrisBio platform and demonstrates the potential of the baculovirus-based expression…

LBPs for gene therapies: Thermo Fisher inks deal with another Bamforth biz

Thermo Fisher has invested in Mark Barmforth’s latest venture Arranta Bio and will access live biopharmaceutical products (LBPs) for use in gene therapy production. Thermo Fisher has a profound relationship with biopharma pioneer and Ampersand Capital Operating Partner Mark Bamforth. Bamforth’s contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Gallus BioPharmaceuticals was acquired by the Patheon in 2014, and in 2017 Patheon was picked up by Thermo Fisher for $7.2 billion (€6.5 billion). Then earlier this year, Thermo Fisher expanded its CDMO…