Sheer magnetism: Gamma Biosciences to acquire BioMagnetic Solutions

Gamma Biosciences will buy cell selection and bioseparation company BioMagnetic Solutions to support development for advanced therapies.

Funded by investment firm KKR, Gamma Biosciences is a growing portfolio of life science tools companies.

The latest acquisition of BioMagnetic Solutions provides access to various resources and support needed to develop and commercialize X-GRAFFE, an immunomagnetic cell selection system based on the principle of using antibodies or other affinity ligands attached to magnetic particles.

Image: iStock/krung99

“When the antibody binds to a target (e.g. a cell, viral particle, or protein) and is subsequently exposed to a magnetic field, the target is effectively captured from a complex mixture and purified,” Matt Gunnison, president of Gamma Biosciences told Bioprocess Insider. “By inventing highly magnetic, but small, nano-meter scale magnetic particles, one can achieve highly selective material separation without compromising performance.”

While no financial agreements have been disclosed, Gunnison confirmed that the company will need to invest to execute its plan going forward.

“The business will focus on developing research use and cGMP products including ferrofluid particles, affinity reagents, hardware, and consumables over the course of the coming year. To execute against these plans, additional facilities for R&D, manufacturing, warehousing, and shipping will be added,” said Gunnison.

He also confirmed Gamma “expects to increase headcount to execute on our product and commercial development plans, with additions across all functions expected in 2021.”

Cellicon Valley

Despite acquisition, BioMagnetic Solutions will operate independently as a stand-alone business. However, BioMagnetic Solutions will have access to Gamma and its subsidiaries, Astrea Bioseparations and Univercells Technologies.

“The ability to collaborate, leverage shared resources and best practices, and access shared networks across our businesses is what defines Gamma’s operating model,” Gunnison told us.

Currently, the firm operates in State College, Philadelphia. However, to maximize their development efforts, Gunnison revealed to us that “the company is exploring additional space to accommodate growth in the business. It is expected that the business will relocate to Cellicon Valley to take advantage of the specialized skills in cell and gene therapy manufacturing that can be found there.”

‘Cellicon Valley’ refers to the area west of Philadelphia, which has been a hotbed of cell and gene therapy development and manufacturing. The term was created by UPenn’s Bruce Levine, a pioneer in the cell and gene therapy space, to describe and further promote this sector.