Multi-Media Player: GE Invests in EU and US Plants to Tap $1.4bn Market

The increased demand for cell growth media from biomanufacturers has driven capacity expansions at sites in Utah and Austria, says GE Healthcare.

Globally, GE Healthcare has cell culture media production in Tuas (Singapore), Pasching (Austria), and Logan (Utah, US). To support growing demand from the biopharma industry, the life sciences firm has announced capacity expansions at the two latter plants.

“Cell culture media is the fastest growing segment within the cell culture market and it was valued at US$1.4 billion in 2017,” Olivier Loeillot, general manager of BioProcess at GE Healthcare Life Sciences, told this publication.

“The estimated growth rate is around eight percent for the next few years, which is mainly driven by the increasing demand for biopharmaceuticals, increasing investment in research and development and favorable governmental policies.”

At the Pasching facility, production capacity of powdered cell culture media will increase tenfold.

According to Loeillot, the additional suite in Austria includes two Hosokawa pin mills, “which will increase our manufacturing capacity and the size of our production batches significantly.” GE completed validation at the plant in April, and is now accepting orders for cGMP-manufactured media products.

The Logan plant will benefit from an additional pin mill set to double capacity, he added.

Neither the amount of investment nor the firm’s total media capacity were divulged.

Localization

GE’s life sciences business includes equipment, media, resins and services aimed at supporting biomanufacturers. Some of its facilities produce for the global markets, while other – such as these cell culture media plants – are more localized.

“The manufacturing processes for cell culture media and chromatography resins are very different and they are difficult to compare. For example, the production processes for different chromatography resins are often interlinked through the base material, which is one of the reasons why it makes sense to have the production in one facility,” Loeillot told BioProcess Insider.

“Cell culture media production is easier to establish and run in different locations, but naturally also there the product coming from different facilities has to be in the same quality and this is something that we are monitoring carefully.

“The main reason for having several manufacturing sites for cell culture media is ensuring security of supply during potential interruptions in manufacturing – we also want to have a strong regional presence, being close to our customers.”

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