The 100,000L plant, which opened its doors yesterday in Llantristant, UK, will manufacture a range of chromatography products, including the notoriously expensive bioprocessing resin, Protein A.
Protein A is a recombinant protein used to purify monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from harvest cell culture for the manufacture of biologics. To date, Protein A has largely been made and supplied by GE Healthcare Life Sciences.
However, according to Purolite, the new Wales facility will enable the sale of chromatography resins up to 70% cheaper than GE.
“We know that today, the market is held by one major supplier, and our goal was clear, to be the only credible alternative to today’s Protein A resin,” said sales director, life sciences agarose, Chris Major, at the opening yesterday.
Purolite has created “game-changing” resins that “push the boundaries of productivity, and significantly reduce manufacturing costs,” he added.
GE did not respond to questions regarding growing competition in the market, but Sofie Stille, general manager of bioprocess downstream resins, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, said the company continues to invest in innovation to provide high productivity resins and capacity.
“We have a strong dedication to support the biopharma industry and patients around the world and for this we make significant contributions,” she added.
Purolite’s chromatography beads are made in two ways: by standard polymerisation, whereby both fine and coarse particles are produced, before you “squeeze out the fraction that you need”, and a sophisticated ‘jetting’ process, explained global operations director, Satish Bapat.
It is this patented jetting technology, designed to produce uniform size agarose beads, that will be a major factor in reducing costs, we were told.
“The beauty of jetting is that you can actually dial in the kind of particle size you require. All round, jetted product will be far more cost-effective,” said Bapat.
Bioindustry a ‘huge growth area’ in Wales
At the opening, Rt Hon Carwyn Jones told delegates the plant, which was in part funded by the Welsh government, represents a close relationship between industry and government.
“We know that [our £500,000 ($650,326)] investment will help to improve and sustain the competitiveness of the plant here in Wales,” said Jones.
“It fits very well with the direction we want to take Wales. We know that the bioindustrial sector is a huge growth area for us. We want Wales to develop an image in the world of expertise in this field,” he added.