GE Healthcare will open a biomanufacturing center in Stevenage, UK to support production of its fiber-based purification platform, which it acquired last year.
In November 2017, bioprocessing equipment and consumables vendor GE Healthcare acquired Puridify – a spin-out from University College London, UK – for an undisclosed fee. The deal added early-stage tech platform FibroSelect, consisting of a nanofiber-based material to which ligands are attached to activate the platform for purification of biologics.
A year on and the firm has announced plans to open a 3,000 square-foot production facility for the technology at the Bioscience Catalyst Open Innovation Campus in Stevenage, UK – about 50 km north of London.
Olivier Loeillot, general manager for Global Product BioProcess at GE Healthcare Life Sciences, did not disclose the investment made in the center, which is set to open its doors in the first half of 2019.
However, he told BioProcess Insider the location was chosen as the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst “is an innovative hub for the UK Life Sciences industry and a base for a GE Healthcare Life Sciences’ research laboratory.” Furthermore, he added, Stevenage is the base for the acquired Puridify business.
A small number of new roles are being created, taking the total number to 22 based at the center.
Puridify was founded in 2013 as a spin-out from University College London (UCL). When acquired last year, Puridify’s CEO Oliver Hardick said his “goal is to introduce significant improvements to bioprocessing and being part of GE helps us to maximize this opportunity.” All 17 employees were kept on by GE.
According to Loeillot, the fiber-based chromatography platform exhibits a proprietary structure aimed at improving process flexibility and robustness for biomanufacturers.
“Fiber-based chromatography has the potential to significantly improve process speed, flexibility and robustness during purification, a key step in the manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals,” he continued, due to the material’s macroporisity.
“[This] gives it strong potential as an enabling technology for the purification of next generation macromolecular biotherapeutics such as gene therapies, viral vectors and fusion proteins.”