Upstream & Downstream Processing

Avectas attracts $20m to scale-up non-viral cell engineering tech

Avectas has secured funds needed to scale-up its cell engineering technology and expand its teams in the US and Ireland. Dublin-based Avectas attracted $20m of equity investment in a series C fundraising round completed on April 16. The firm plans to use the funds to scale up its Soluporation technology and to expand its commercial, regulatory and technical organization within Ireland and the US. CEO Michael Maguire told us “We will accelerate our translation and scale-up by engagement with external CDMOs and…

Novel R&D approaches and the need for flexibility make single-use key in tackling COVID-19

Manufacturers are unlikely to look to traditional stainless-steel systems when developing COVID-19 vaccines despite the very high doses potentially needed, says MilliporeSigma. The list of biopharma companies rapidly developing vaccines is growing in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Moderna Therapeutics has a messenger RNA (mRNA) in Phase I trials, Inovio Pharmaceuticals’ DNA vaccine entered human trials last week, while others including Novavax, which is developing a vaccine based on its recombinant protein nanoparticle platform, are racing towards the…

Cytiva on board for University of Queensland COVID-19 vaccine project

Cytiva – formerly known as GE Healthcare Life Sciences – will develop a prototype affinity resin to support a COVID-19 vaccine candidate being developed by the University of Queensland A team from the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia is working on a fast-tracked vaccine for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, using its molecular clamp’ technology. The platform tech, invented by UQ scientists and patented by UniQuest, aims to provide stability to the viral protein that is the primary target for our…

Cytiva rises out of GE Healthcare as Danaher completes $21bn deal

It’s “absolutely business as usual” says Cytiva, the bioprocess vendor formerly known as GE Healthcare Life Sciences, despite a new owner and an ongoing coronavirus pandemic.   Three months later than originally planned, Danaher Corporation has completed the largest ever acquisition in the bioprocess space, adding the biopharma business unit of GE Healthcare to its life sciences portfolio. The $21.4 billion (€19.4 billion) deal brings Danaher a range of products including the AKTA, Hyclone, MabSelect, Wave, and Xcellerex brands, along…

Lonza media launch to support Sf9 insect cells for gene therapy production

Insect-based expression systems remain effective in making gene therapies says Lonza as it launches a medium specifically to produce Adeno Associated Virus (AAV) in Spodoptera Frugiperda (Sf9) cells. According to Lonza, the TheraPEAK SfAAV Medium is the first chemically defined, non-animal origin medium designed specifically for the production of AAV in Sf9 insect cells for gene therapy applications. “This medium is chemically defined and we have compared its performance with four other media on the market currently. It allows for…

Eppendorf expands centrifuge business with Koki buy

Eppendorf says the addition of Koki Holdings’ centrifuge business will help provide its biopharma customers a full product portfolio for centrifugation steps in clinical trial, drug discovery and production. The deal – financials of which have not been disclosed – sees German bioprocess vendor Eppendorf expand its business through the addition of Tokyo, Japan-based Koki’s ‘himac’ brand of centrifuge equipment. “A full functioning business organization, including R&D, operations, sales/service and business administration will be carved out of Koki Holdings Co.,”…

Danaher closes in on $21bn GE takeover after FTC approval

Danaher says the GE Biopharma takeover will complete this month after US competition authorities grant conditional approval for the $21.4 billion deal. The condition imposed by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is that Danaher sells some bioprocessing technologies and products. The Commission announced its decision on March 20, explaining the original deal would have unfairly reduced competition. The divested techs will include microcarrier beads, various chromatography columns and skids, single use tangential flow filtration systems, label-fee molecular characterization instruments…

Thermo acts to support vaccine developers as vendors adapt to COVID-19 crisis

Thermo Fisher Scientific says it is working to support vaccine developers while keeping employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a March 17 statement Thermo has banned travel via air, rail or sea for all employees globally. Instead the firm will use virtual meeting and online technology to interact with customers, including biopharmaceutical companies that are working on vaccines against the SARS-COV2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Spokesman Ron O’brien told us “To meet the global demand for readily available…

Sartorius to reduce virgin plastic use as part of recycling pact

Sartorius has signed up to a Europe-wide agreement focused on improving how single-use plastics are recycled. The European Plastics Pact, which was launched last week, is a voluntary scheme designed to improve how plastic is recycled. Signatories will collaborate to develop processing techniques and common standards. A Sartorius spokesman told us, “We have kicked off an initiative to build our plastic strategy for our single-use products on the basis of a circular plastics economy. This strategy is oriented toward the…

MilliporeSigma: Thermo Fisher’s Qiagen buy ‘no threat’ to bioprocess landscape

Merck KGaA says bioprocess M&A is significantly different than in the pharma world and sees no challenge to its MilliporeSigma division from Thermo Fisher’s recent acquisitions. Last week, bioprocess vendor Thermo Fisher agreed to buy Qiagen for $11.5 billion (€10.1 billion). The deal will bolster Thermo Fisher’s diagnostics business and add sample preparation, assay development and bioinformatics capabilities to its genetic analysis and biosciences capabilities. It is also the latest billion-dollar plus deal for Thermo Fisher, which has in recent…