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GE aiming to be cell therapy production services one-stop-shop

Dan Stanton

By Dan Stanton+

12-Apr-2017
Last updated on 12-Apr-2017 at 13:16 GMT2017-04-12T13:16:51Z

Image: iStock/dumfstar
Image: iStock/dumfstar

GE Healthcare has acquired cryopreservation technology firm Asymptote and says more investments are likely as it builds an “end-to-end ecosystem” for cellular therapy production services.

Financial details of the deal have not been divulged, but GE Healthcare will add 13 employees through the acquisition of Cambridge, UK-based Asymptote, an emerging player in the cold chain space which has seen double digit growth over the past few years.

“Asymptote has a suite of technologies for the cryopreservation of cellular materials that supports safe manufacture and delivery of cell therapies,” Ger Brophy, GM of GE Healthcare’s Cell Therapy business told Biopharma-Reporter.

“Their offering fills a critical gap in GE Healthcare’s end-to-end ecosystem of products and services for cell therapy production.”

GE adds a number of technologies through the acquisition, including an application of the Stirling cryocooler which removes heat by conduction from containers allowing accurate and consistent cooling rates in samples, he said, and a soon-to-be released VIA Thaw platform which gently warms up deeply frozen cells by a water-free conduction process.

“All Asymptote thawers work without using water or any other fluid, they are all fully-automated and tightly control the thawing process. Every unit synchronizes thawing programs and data logs from each thaw to a centralized platform accessible from a web browser or mobile device.”

GE and cell therapies

Incorporating the cryopreservation technologies into GE’s portfolio will prep the firm for the expected increase in demand for manufacturing and clinical delivery as the cell therapy sector develops, Brophy told us.

“Already we have been aware of the need for cold-chain management in the industry, spanning all elements of regenerative medicine from cell bank creation, to patient sample management. The digital enablement of these devices adds the benefit of improved temperature logging for critical cell samples.”

Last year the firm acquired the Biosafe Group, incorporating its single-use cell processing and separation tech into its cellular therapy offerings, and according to Brophy more acquisitions may be on the cards.

“GE is building an end-to-end ecosystem of products and services for cell therapy production, the same way we are serving the biopharmaceutical companies and their production processes today. We don’t comment on potential acquisitions but we view cell therapy as a field where we want to continue to make investments.”

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