GE Healthcare announced today the acquisition of Puridify –a spin-out from University College London, UK – for an undisclosed fee, bringing it the early-stage purification tech platform FibroSelect.
“Our technical evaluation shows this could be a strong complement to GE’s bead resins and chromatography membranes used in the downstream bioprocessing, promising faster mass transfer, scalability and ease of use in certain application areas,” Jan Makela, GM of BioProcess at GE Healthcare Life Sciences told Biopharma-Reporter.
The platform consists of a nanofibre-based material to which ligands are attached to activate the platform for purification. “For example, Protein A is used as ligand in the capture step of monoclonal antibodies, but other ligands may be used depending on the application needs,” he added.
Puridify – which has an ongoing R&D deal with Big Biopharma firm GSK – claims the open structure of the nanofibre matrix can deliver high capacity and high flowrate, overcoming limitations often seen with packed bed chromatography purification. At a research and pilot scale, the firm has demonstrated it can operate at 50x throughput, achieving 10-50 fold productivity improvements in the purification process.
And now GE is looking to develop the platform to reproduce this output on a commercial scale, Makela told us.
“We will be developing this exciting new platform technology, to fit logically alongside GE’s existing range of consumables and hardware. This may include common ligands to simplify process scale up, for example, or common hardware architectures to enable FlexFactory system integration.
“We will be investing further in Puridify’s early-stage platform to bring it to full commercialization, working with the Puridify team as they transition to GE.”
All 17 Puridify employees will be integrated into the company and continue to work from Stevenage, UK, which will become a small research hub for GE’s Bioprocess business.
GE’s bio push
The Puridify acquisition is the latest investment in its bioprocessing business by GE Healthcare. Over the past year, the firm has invested in automation firm Zenith Technologies, launched a new chromatography resin and expanded facilities in both Massachusetts, US and Uppsala, Sweden.
“Our strategy is to make the whole biopharmaceutical manufacturing process more efficient for our customers, and we are open to look at different technical solutions in this space both in upstream and downstream,” said Makela. “This [latest] investment shows that GE continues to re-invest, to drive market-leading innovation around the capture and purification process steps.”
He added: “We maintain continual focus on driving productivity, quality and security of supply for our customers, and so we actively review our BioProcess product portfolio on an on-going basis to ensure that we are focusing our investment in priority areas.”