Author Archives: Gareth Macdonald

Thermo acts to support vaccine developers as vendors adapt to COVID-19 crisis

Thermo Fisher Scientific says it is working to support vaccine developers while keeping employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a March 17 statement Thermo has banned travel via air, rail or sea for all employees globally. Instead the firm will use virtual meeting and online technology to interact with customers, including biopharmaceutical companies that are working on vaccines against the SARS-COV2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Spokesman Ron O’brien told us “To meet the global demand for readily available…

Juno hires Oxford Biomedica for vectors, platform and OxBox

Juno Therapeutics has licensed Oxford Biomedica’s gene delivery platform in a deal that will also see the latter make vectors for clinical trials. Juno will use the technology – known as the Lentivector platform – in both its CAR-T and TCR-T development programmes. The US biotech has agreed to pay $10 million upfront as well as $86 million based on the achievement of certain developmental and regulatory milestones. Oxford Biomedica will also receive sales royalties of up to $131 million…

Autolus hires MolMed to add vector flexibility

Autolus Therapeutics says hiring MolMed as a contractor for its CAR-T programs was about adding flexibility. The biotech announced contracted MolMed to develop and manufacture vectors for its candidate CAR-T cancer therapy programs this week. Under the deal MolMed will make viral vectors to support Autolus’ various clinical trial programs. An Autolus spokeswoman told us “MolMed is a future supplier. “The MolMed relationship is Autolus taking the normal and prudent step to build flexibility and parallel supply for vector.” The…

Emergent to make Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate for Ph I trials

Emergent says Covid-19 vaccine candidate it is making for Novavax will be ready for trials within four months. Novavax hired Emergent BioSolutions to make the experimental vaccine this week. The vaccine was developed using Novavax’s recombinant protein nanoparticle platform and Matrix-M adjuvant technology. Emergent said it has already started work on making clinical trial supplies of the vaccine, explaining that drug substance will be produced at the Baltimore-Bayview facility while the product itself will be made at its Baltimore-Camden plant.…

Sartorius to reduce virgin plastic use as part of recycling pact

Sartorius has signed up to a Europe-wide agreement focused on improving how single-use plastics are recycled. The European Plastics Pact, which was launched last week, is a voluntary scheme designed to improve how plastic is recycled. Signatories will collaborate to develop processing techniques and common standards. A Sartorius spokesman told us, “We have kicked off an initiative to build our plastic strategy for our single-use products on the basis of a circular plastics economy. This strategy is oriented toward the…

Samsung Bio lands MAb development contract with STCube

Samsung Biologics has landed another development project when STCube asked it to help it with a cancer monoclonal antibody candidate. The South Korean contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) will provide cell line and process development services. It will also manufacture material for preclinical development and human trials. The monoclonal antibody in question targets an unspecified protein – called STT-003 by STCube – that is found on the surfaces of cancer cells. According to STCube, because cancer cells express high…

Culture Biosciences raises $15m for bioreactor capacity hike

Culture Biosciences will use new funding to increase bioreactor capacity and create additional monitoring software. The San Francisco contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) announced the completion of a $15 million (€13.4 million) series A financing round this week, explaining it had attracted support from new venture capital backers as well as existing investors. Culture Biosciences said it will use the cash to triple bioreactor capacity and to create additional cloud-based biomanufacturing R&D software monitoring and development tools. CEO Will…

Thermo’s $11.5bn bid for Qiagen accepted

Thermo Fisher Scientific is poised to add coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 test kit to its diagnostics business after agreeing an $11.5bn takeover of Qiagen NV. The firms announced the agreement on Tuesday, valuing Qiagen at $11.5 billion, or €39 ($43.4) per share. Thermo CEO Marc N. Casper said, “This acquisition provides us with the opportunity to leverage our industry-leading capabilities and R&D expertise to accelerate innovation and address emerging healthcare needs. “For shareholders, we expect the transaction to be immediately accretive and…

Staffing: Cell and gene therapy sector needs reinforcements

Cell and gene therapy manufacturers need staff with laboratory skills and GMP know-how, according to an expert from Texas A&M. Cell and gene therapies attract a lot of attention. In recent years products like Yescarta, Kymriah and Zolgensma and the debate about their prices – $373,000, $475,000 and $2.1m respectively – have dominated the headlines. In industry circles the focus has shifted to the manufacture of such therapies. Developers are working to ensure there are sufficient vectors, or to make…