Media moguls: SAFC's Scotland culture media plant opens

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Merck KGaA's SAFC opens media facility
Merck KGaA's SAFC opens media facility

Related tags Cell culture

SAFC’s dry powder cell culture media facility in Scotland opened for business this week a little under two years after the US supplier began expanding the site.

The facility in Irvine on Scotland’s West coast will now make animal product-free dry powder media for the biopharmaceutical industry in addition to the liquid media, buffers and reagents that were already produced at the site.

The idea behind the expansion – according to SAFC President Gilles Cottier – is that the Irvine site is the European mirror for the firm’s manufacturing facility in Lenexa, Kansas​, which supplies US customers.

As the market continues to change, we’ve recommitted to staying flexible and providing exceptional support for customers, which helps reduce their risk and lowers their cost of ownership​” Cottier said.

He added that: “Supply redundancy and the ability to source consistent product supply in different parts of the world are key factors in providing this level of support​.”

Media moguls

SAFC has been owned by drugmaker and life sciences supplier Merck KGaA since last September​ when the German firm acquired its parent company Sigma Aldrich in a $17bn (€13bn) deal.

At the time Merck cited the global $5bn culture media sector – along with a variety of other factors – as a driver for the acquisition, explaining that the deal would further strengthen its position in a market.

Merck entered the media business in 2011 when it bought Millipore and further expanded its position in the market with the acquisition of fellow Germany-based company Biochrom AG a year later.

Merck is not the only firm to be investing in the media market. In February last year​ Thermo Fisher Scientific bought Life Technologies, whose Gibco media business also produces culture for the biopharmaceutical sector.

The Life Technologies deal also saw Thermo Fisher sell GE Healthcare​ its Utah, US-based culture media business in accordance with directive from competition authorities around the world​.

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