Catalent brings in Berkeley Lights to optimise cell lines

By Ben Hargreaves contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Sergunt)
(Image: Getty/Sergunt)

Related tags: Catalent pharma solutions, Berkeley Lights, Cell lines, Juniper pharmaceuticals

Catalent has agreed a deal to apply Berkeley Lights’ Beacon optofluidic platform to its cell lines.

Catalent Pharma Solutions, which works on delivery technology and the development of drugs, biologics and consumer health products, chose Berkeley Lights’ Beacon Optofluidic platform in order to ‘significantly accelerate’ the development timelines of its cell lines.

The Beacon platform allows the automation of the cell line process, which aims to increase the efficiency of the work being carried out. The technology is also able to identify the top producing clones after five days, allowing the process to scale up in a short timeframe.

Andy Last, chief commercial officer at Berkeley Lights, said in a statement​, “The value that the Beacon platform creates for the biopharmaceutical market can be seen with its rapid adoption. Today, approximately 50% of the top 25 biopharmaceutical companies have implemented the Beacon platform for one or more workflows, and we’re excited that Catalent Biologics is the first technology and service provider to launch the platform in North America.”

In April 2018, Berkeley Lights signed an agreement with Sanofi​ to use the same Optofluidic platform, joining Pfizer​, Bayer​ and Teva​ in doing so.

When we spoke to Greg Bleck, head of research and development at Catalent Biologics, he confirmed that uptake of the technology by larger pharmaceutical companies had been a factor in adopting the Beacon platform. In particular, he mentioned that prior to agreeing to the deal, Catalent had spoken with companies that were already using the technology on their own cell lines.

In addition, he stated that Berkeley Lights had also been forthcoming with its own data for Catalent to look over before pursuing an agreement.

In terms of the advantages, Bleck spoke on how the technology needed “less hands-on time”​ and produced better clones, due to the ability to screen for higher expression in conditions that more closely resemble bioreactor culture conditions compared with traditional processes. It is also a “gentler process of handling cells”​ leading to more of the clones surviving the selection process.

The move to bolster its cell line technology comes at a time of expansion for the company. Earlier this month, Catalent announced that it had agreed a $133m (€114m) deal​ to acquire Juniper Pharmaceuticals’ pharma services division – adding another site to its three existing locations in the UK.

Related topics: Upstream Processing, Cell lines

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