Simulated Bed fellows: Tosoh buys purification firm Semba

Tosoh Bioscience says it will complement its resins business through the addition of continuous chromatography firm Semba Biosciences.

The deal, which closed earlier this month, saw Pennsylvania-based Tosoh add all Semba’s staff and assets for an undisclosed fee. The acquisition will boost the firm’s downstream bioproduction portfolio, made up of chromatography resins, with the addition of Semba’s simulated moving bed (SMB) chromatography systems (see text box below).

“Coupled with Semba’s revolutionary multi-column chromatography technology we have found a perfect complement to offer unparalleled efficiency and productivity in downstream processes,” a Tosoh spokeswoman told this publication.

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She added that “synergies of our product offerings allow us to seamlessly integrate Semba in Tosoh Bioscience. Semba’s multi-column chromatography instruments will be added to our product portfolio, with a team of dedicated product managers, support specialists, applications scientists, and an R&D team to continue to develop their technology and offer the best in customer support.”

The deal may trigger more M&A from Tosoh, the spokeswoman suggested, telling us the firm has “an exciting pipeline of new developments in the area of downstream bioprocessing and technologies related to single-use applications.”

She also added that on the back of the Semba buy, Tosoh Bioscience is planning on creating a global center of excellence for continuous chromatography in Madison, Wisconsin.

Simulated Moving Bed

According to Semba:

“Simulated moving bed chromatography (SMBC) was invented in the 1950’s by Broughton and colleagues at UOP for large-scale separation of n-paraffins, and is used today in many variations in the petrochemical, food, and pharmaceutical industries. The SMBC process has made liquid chromatography economically feasible on an industrial scale due to its high productivity relative to batch (single-column) methods. This enhanced productivity (up to 20-fold) is achieved through much more efficient utilization of the solid and liquid phases required for separation. In simplest terms, SMBC does more with less.

“SMB chromatography uses multiple smaller columns containing the solid adsorbent (beds) rather than one large column to ‘move’ the beds in the opposite direction of the fluid to achieve a countercurrent flow, rather than flowing fluids through one static bed.

“The ‘simulated movement’ is typically carried out through multiport valves interspersed between the columns, such that the input and output fluid streams can be periodically switched from column to column in the direction of fluid flow. Rather than applying feed and desorbent and collecting fractions sequentially with one column, all fluid streams are simultaneously applied and withdrawn at appropriate points between the columns. When running at a steady state, the various stages of separation are carried out simultaneously by different columns in a continuous cycle.”

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