Upstream & Downstream Processing

BIA Separations providing chromatography columns for AveXis

BIA Separations’ prepacked chromatography columns “contribute to a robust manufacturing process” for the recently approved gene therapy Zolgensma, says AveXis. In May, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Zolgensma (onasemnogene abeparvovec), a gene therapy designed to halt progressive spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Novartis subsidiary AveXis developed and commercialized the $2.1 million one-off treatment, but – as the saying goes – it takes a village to raise a child. Zolgensma relies on Regenxbio’s adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector technology, and…

Avalon GE partnership looks to automate and accelerate CAR-Ts

Avalon GloboCare has teamed with GE Healthcare to establish automated and standardized cell production capabilities to support its cellular immunotherapy programs. Under terms of the deal, clinical stage biotech Avalon will access bioprocess vendor GE Healthcare’s FlexFactory Cell Therapy platform to develop a production infrastructure for its pipeline of Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cells and other immune-effector cells for cellular immunotherapy. Avalon will also gain access to GE’s FastTrak process development and training services, as well as its extensive…

‘Bioprocessing ecosystem is on fire,’ says analyst

Sales grew 21% year-on-year at Sartorius’ H1 2019, while Repligen reported preliminary Q2 growth of nearly 50%. The bioprocessing sector ‘is on fire,’ says Jefferies’ analyst Brandon Couillard. Repligen Corporation published its preliminary Q2 results in an SEC filing last week, saying it expects sales of $70-71 million, compared to $47.7 million for the three months ended June 30, 2018. This would represent a 48% increase year-on-year. “The 8-K did not offer much color on specific drivers, but momentum across…

Pall to provide ‘A-Z of single-use tech’ in Servier deal

Servier has selected Pall Corporation as its exclusive technology and services provider at its biomanufacturing facility in Gidy, France. The facility, located about 50 km south of Paris, forms part of Servier’s oncology drug development and production network, Bio-S. This unit will be used for the manufacture of recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies, using equipment and processes supplied and supported by Pall Biotech. “Pall will assist Servier with technical support for the scale up of the process to enable Servier…

Cannabis culture: Cronos buys 102,000 L microbial plant from Apotex

The facility in Winnipeg, Canada will be used to produce cell cultured cannabinoids through its collaboration with Ginkgo Bioworks, says Cronos Group. Cannabinoid company Cronos Group has agreed to buy Apotex Fermentation Inc’s 84,000 square-foot biomanufacturing factory in Winnipeg for an undisclosed fee. If the deal closes – expected in Q3 – it will bring Cronos a facility with a combined production capacity of 102,000L, three downstream processing plants, and bulk product and packaging capabilities. The site will support manufacturing…

Instrumental deal: Agilent to bolster cell analysis biz with BioTek buy

Agilent Technologies’ $1.165 billion acquisition of cell analysis firm BioTek Instruments will bring increased exposure to biopharma end markets, according to an analyst. Life sciences technology and services firm Agilent has agreed to pay $1.165 billion (€1 billion) for BioTek Instruments, adding numerous cell analysis tools to its portfolio. These include cell imaging systems, microplate readers, washers, dispensers, automated incubators and stackers, all used in the analysis and quantification of biomolecules and cell therapies. “[BioTek] positions Agilent well in the…

Single-use techs are garbage, eventually, and that’s great for biopharma

Biopharma is starting to use single-use technologies more widely but understanding the pros and cons is vital say experts. The key characteristic of any single-use technology is its disposability. Being able to throw away rather than clean equipment after use is a major benefit. Cleaning a stainless steel system takes time and money says Andrew Sinclair, founder of Biopharm Services. “Cleaning a typical stainless steel system can be complex as the equipment and associated pipework needs to be cleaned together…

M&A hungry BioLife to buy cold-chain services firm SAVSU

Having gradually increased its stake in the cloud-based cold-chain management firm, BioLife Solutions will buy the remaining 56% of shares to bolster its cell and gene therapy offering. Supplier of cell and gene therapy tools BioLife has been experiencing huge growth over the past few quarters (51% increase year-on-year for its Q1 2019, for example) due to the high demand for bio-preservation media and automated thawing products. The firm has been looking to take advantage of the continued demand from…

Teva partnership looks to up its biologics productivity

Teva has teamed with Just Biotherapeutics to develop a high productivity biomanufacturing process as it focuses its efforts towards biopharmaceuticals. The partnership aims to develop methods to lower the cost of biomanufacturing. Just Biotherapeutics – recently acquired by Germany’s Evotec – will design and development a high yielding manufacturing process for one of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ complex products. Further details of the process, molecule or the finances of the deal were not answered by either company when contacted by this…

Fujifilm investing $30m into cell culture media plant in Netherlands

Fujifilm Irvine Scientific says a third facility at its Tilburg site will help meet future demand for cell culture media from biomanufacturers. Plans have been laid for a 250,000 square-foot building at Fujifilm’s site in Tilburg, The Netherlands to produce a range of media for the biomanufacturing space. When operations begin – expected late 2021 – the plant will increase Fujifilm Irvine Scientific’s production capacity by 320,000 Kg per year for dry powder, and 470,000 L per year for liquids.…