Upstream & Downstream Processing

MilliporeSigma plans to ramp up filtration manufacture in NH

MilliporeSigma intends to add an additional 38,500 square feet of manufacturing space at its site in New Hampshire to support demand for filtration devices. The bioprocessing business unit of Germany’s Merck KGaA, MilliporeSigma, has revealed it is planning to expand a site in Jaffrey, New Hampshire that makes filtration equipment for the life sciences industry. “To meet the future demands of the bioprocessing market, we are in the approval process to expand the facility with additional cleanroom and lab space…

Middle class: Lonza on the flexibility of midscale biomanufacturing

With construction of a 6,000 L scale hybrid plant underway, CDMO Lonza says there is high demand among its customers for midscale biomanufacturing. In this industry, companies and commentators like talking about extremes: either small-scale single-use or large-scale stainless steel. But speaking at the BPI Theater at BIO in Philadelphia earlier this month, Stéphane Varray, commercial development for midscale at Lonza Pharma and Biotech said midscale options provide firms with flexibility across numerous modalities. “When we look at midscale we’re…

Fujifilm tackles buffer bottleneck at $10m continuous processing plant

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies says it can overcome the burden of large buffer volumes associated with continuous purification as part of a new UK processing facility. The facility in Billingham, UK will include a 500 L single-use perfusion bioreactor and 7 downstream processing units and is expected to begin offering process development later this year. The plant represents a $10 million (€8.9 million) investment by the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) and is the culmination of three years of in-house…

Inside Jefferson: $7m bioprocess training institute opens in PA

The Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing (JIB) has opened its doors in Pennsylvania. Bioprocess Insider visited to find out how the site, supported by Ireland’s NIBRT and GE Healthcare, will aid the bioprocess industry. In June 2018, plans were laid down for a site in Pennsylvania for an education and training institute to support the staffing gaps in the bioprocessing space. A year on, the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing (JIB) has opened, with help from a $7 million (€6.2 million) investment…

Zolgensma: We all know the price, but how is it made?

Making Zolgensma, the new “world’s most expensive drug,” is a month-long process that depends on vector tech licensed from Regenxbio. Zolgensma is a gene therapy. It is designed to halt progressive spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) – motor neurone loss and muscle wasting – in people who have a defective version of the gene SMN1. The drug addresses the underlying causes of SMA according to Novartis spokesman Eric Althoff. He told us, “Zolgensma provides a functional copy of the human SMN…

Pluristem looks to cell cultured cannabinoids

Pluristem Therapeutics has filed a provisional patent application to use its 3D cell culturing technology to manufacture cannabinoid-producing cells. Pluristem has several candidates in its pipeline based on placenta-derived, mesenchymal-like adherent stromal cells, has inked a recent study agreement with NASA, and is working with Thermo Fisher to address the lack of technologies available to cell therapy manufacturers for the cultivation and processing of allogeneic products. Now the Israeli cell therapy firm is looking to use its cell culture platform…

UNSW looks to ‘submarine-like’ microparticles for drug delivery

Micro-motors developed by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) could respond to variations in biological environments to navigate and attack tumor cells. Findings from the research undertaken at Sydney, Australia-based UNSW have been published in Material Today, under the title ‘Biocatalytic self-propelled submarine-like metal-organic framework microparticles with pH-triggered buoyancy control for directional vertical motion.’ The paper shows evidence of “self-propelled submarine-like microparticles” that carry drugs and use changes in the biological environments and pH to navigate to specific areas…

Costs and quality will shape cell and gene therapy tech development

Cell and gene therapies as well as wider industry desire for cost efficiency will shape bioprocessing tech innovation, say experts. Biopharma interest in cell and gene therapies is increasing. Products like Kymriah, Luxturna and Yescarta are the tip of an R&D iceberg according to PhRMA, which says around 300 such treatments are in development. The trend has been well received, with various groups suggesting it will yield treatments for untreatable conditions (see here, here and here, for examples). Investors have…

Thermo Fisher $50m spend to support high single-use uptake

Single-use adoption has gone from niche applications to standard practice in biomanufacturing says Thermo Fisher, which is expanding its disposable capabilities. Thermo Fisher has laid down plans to expand its bioproduction equipment capacity through a $50 million (€45 million) investment on the back of growing demand for its single-use bioprocess container (BPC) systems. “The majority of our 2019 investment will be across our SUT [single-use technology] network in the US, and nearly $10 million will be spent specifically at our…

German Merck: Continuous is key for bioprocess future

Merck KGaA reports a 15% year-on-year growth in its Process Solutions business and looks to its next-generation bioprocessing platform BioContinuum to continue the momentum. For the first quarter 2019, Germany’s Merck saw net sales within its life science business of €1.7 billion ($1.9 billion), up from €1.5 billion in the same period last year. The firm’s Process Solutions unit – which includes MilliporeSigma – however, saw a 15.1% year-on-year growth driven by bioprocessing demand, equating to €700 million. Merck’s results…