MilliporeSigma bolsters bioreactor offering with Erbi buy

The acquisition of Erbi Biosystems will enable MilliporeSigma to offer a full range of bioreactors ranging from 2 ml to 2,000 L, says firm.  

MilliporeSigma – the life sciences division of Germany’s Merck KGaA – has acquired Massachusetts-based firm Erbi for an undisclosed fee. According to the bioprocess vendor and contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), Erbi’s 2 ml micro-bioreactor platform, Breez, will strengthen its upstream portfolio. 

The Breez bioreactors operate by using miniaturized valves, filters, mixing, pumps, and sensors to perform various cell culture activities at a 2 ml scale. A spokesperson for MilliporeSigma told BioProcess Insider. The technology “has all of the capability of a commercial scale bioreactor system with a low benchtop footprint.”

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They continued: “By integrating the Breez in our extensive Mobius portfolio, we extend our full range of bioreactors, cell retention systems and devices, and cell culture media. This increases the productivity of MilliporeSigma’s upstream processes and will further accelerate the adoption of perfusion cell culture operations as our customers move towards more connected and continuous processing. Having a scale-down model at bench scale if critical for process screening, development, and characterization.” 

MilliporeSigma noted that while there are larger scale bioreactors available on the market that are able to be operated in perfusion mode, the systems take up “significantly more bench space” when compared to Breez and are more costly to operate. Additionally, the CDMO says that the closed acquisition contributes to the firm’s knowledge in monoclonal antibody (mAb) process development.  

With the Breez bioreactor on board, MilliporeSigma says it will now be able to offer customers bioreactor capacity from 2 ml all the way up to 2,000 L.

Staff and space  

The Breez is not the only thing that MilliporeSigma gains via the acquisition of Erbi. The firm will maintain Erbi’s Stoneham, Massachusetts site and the spokesperson said it will “assess any potential location changes as the business scales in the future.”  

 In addition to the space, the CDMO will also gain 40 members of staff from Erbi.