Author Archives: Dan Stanton

Adios AveXis: Novartis embeds $8.7bn acquisition into gene therapy rebrand

Gene therapy developer AveXis will be known as Novartis Gene Therapies, more than two years after being acquired by the Swiss biopharma giant. In May 2018, Novartis spent $8.7 billion to acquire gene therapy technology and therapy developer AveXis. Since then, Novartis has supported the commercialization of its spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) single-dose therapy Zolgensma (onasemnogene abeparvovec), while investing heavily into the bolt-ons manufacturing capabilities. In February, AveXis/Novartis opened a $115 million gene therapy production plant in Durham, North Carolina.…

MilliporeSigma adding 160 jobs to expanded NH filtration plant

MilliporeSigma will run a recently expanded facility in Jaffray, New Hampshire on a 24-hour cycle due to increased demand for filtration devices and membranes, driven in part by COVID-19. In June 2019, MilliporeSigma – the bioprocessing business unit of Germany’s Merck KGaA – announced plans to expand its site in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. The site produces a variety of filtration devices and membranes that support the life science industries and the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals. The 35,800 additional square feet of…

Proteinea using fly larvae as ‘mini-bioreactors’ in challenge to industry

Producing recombinant proteins in fly larvae instead of single-cell technologies could reduce biomanufacturing costs by up to 90%, says bioprocess startup firm Proteinea. Proteinea, a US and Egyptian startup, is looking to change the economics of biomanufacturing. The firm challenging the standard of using stainless-steel or single-use bioreactor systems to produce biologics by instead leveraging its insect-based biotechnology platform. Rather than produce a recombinant protein in single bacteria, yeast or mammalian cells, the firm uses InsectaPro, its platform comprising of…

Astrea buys filtration firm ELS and hints at more acquisitions

Astrea Bioseparations has acquired Essential Life Solutions (ELS) adding a chromatography column portfolio and operations in the US. The deal, financial details of which have not been divulged, closed last week bringing Astrea the SNAP brand of chromatography column products for research and small-scale purification of biological products. “SNAP columns are high precision, glass columns used with HPLC/FPLC systems for development of purification processes and lab scale chromatography,” Astrea told this publication. The range will complement Astrea’s bioprocess offering, which…

Maravai invests further $20m in CDMO biz on back of rising mRNA interest

Maravai LifeSciences has increased investment in its CDMO business TriLink BioTechnologies to $60 million as mRNA, CRISPR and advanced therapies drive demand. Maravai LifeSciences acquired the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) TriLink in 2016, adding messenger RNA (mRNA), oligonucleotide and plasmid production capabilities for companies focused on therapeutic, vaccine and diagnostic development. Last year, Maravai announced it was expanding TriLink, leasing a new facility in the Sorrento Valley area of San Diego and relocating its current Good Manufacturing Practice…

Cryoport strikes second acquisition in a week with $320m MVE buy

The addition of cryogenic freezer systems firm MVE Biological Solutions will boost Cryoport’s position in the temperature-controlled cell and gene therapy logistics space. Cryoport, a temperature-controlled supply chain services firm for the life sciences, has agree to buy MVE Biological Systems for $320 million with the deal expected to close by the end of the year. MVE is a subsidiary of Chart Industries and will bring Cryoport a greater presence in the cell and gene therapy services space, broadening its…

Samsung Bioepis: Govs and biopharma must work on post-COVID supply chain security

With biopharma operations still affected by coronavirus, governments and industry must look ahead to ensure the security of manufacturing resources and supply chain structures, says Samsung Bioepis. Like other companies, 2020 has been a challenge for Samsung Bioepis with the global coronavirus pandemic laying waste to ‘normal’ business procedures and supply chain management. “We’ve supplied more than 18 million units of product worldwide since 2016 without experiencing any supply shortages in providing our products to customers and patients,” Kevin Jack,…

AstraZeneca ups Catalent contract for viral vector COVID-19 vaccine

Already contracted for fill/finish of the so-called Oxford Vaccine, CDMO Catalent will now make the drug substance for the potential COVID-19 prophylactic from its site in Maryland. AZD1222 – previously known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 – is one of the leading vaccines against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. Developed by the Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford, Anglo-Swedish Big Pharma firm AstraZeneca partnered on the project in April and the candidate is currently in…

Cold play: Cryoport buying temperature-controlled logistics firm CRYOPDP

The €49 million ($58 million) deal ups Cryoport’s logistics services, filling out its global offering to support cell and gene therapies as well as other life science functions. French logistics firm CRYOPDP has over 220 employees in 22 global facilities across 12 countries, supporting the life sciences industry through temperature-controlled logistics products and services. The all-cash €49 million transaction, expected to complete in the next two months, will see the firm incorporated into Cryoport, expanding the firm’s global footprint and…

CDMO deals and investments from AGC, Avid, and Fujifilm

New deals inked by AGC Biologics, Avid Bioservices, and Therapure, while Fujifilm breaks ground in Texas. Welcome to Friday’s CDMO round-up. AGC Biologics has been contracted by Japan’s Ono Pharmaceutical for the manufacture of clinical materials. Details are scant but the agreement marks the latest deal announced by the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) in recent months. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, AGC has been named as one of the manufacturers of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate NVX-CoV2373; recently said…