Bayer takes a shine to Berkeley Light's Beacon biologics workflow tech

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Bayer will use Berkeley Lights' 'Beacon' tech platform. Image: AlekseySagitov/GettyImages
Bayer will use Berkeley Lights' 'Beacon' tech platform. Image: AlekseySagitov/GettyImages

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Bayer has signed a deal to use Berkeley Lights’ automated biological workflow platform for cell line development and antibody discovery.

The aim is to use Berkeley Lights Inc’s Beacon platform to improve drug development processes at Bayer’s research facility in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany.

“Berkeley Lights' Beacon platform enables scientists working in biopharma and academic medical centres to pre-programme and automate workflows to import, culture, assay, view and export single cells within a nanofluidic chip,”​ Eric Hobbs, CEO of the Californian firm, told Biopharma-Reporter.

“Each chip has thousands of nano-size pens (chambers) in which cells are placed to be cultured and assayed. The platform allows scientists to test cells for various properties to identify the best cells based upon user specified characteristics, and then remove those cells for further development.”

The Beacon machine is about the size of a large refrigerator, he added, and replaces rooms full of equipment that are manually operated in biopharma discovery and development labs. It can also be used for cell line development, antibody discovery and engineering, gene editing, and research.

This includes “a variety of cell types including mammalian, microbial and others. We can move cells that are greater than two microns and have moved yeast cells successfully.”

Financial details of the arrangement with Bayer remain under wraps, but Hobson said the deal is not exclusive and Berkeley Lights currently works with a number of other biopharma firms, including eight of the top 20.

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