Thermo Fisher addresses the growing need for more flexible, scalable biologics development

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/metamorworks
© GettyImages/metamorworks

Related tags Chromatography Cell line

Thermo Fisher Scientific has opened a new bioprocessing collaboration center (BCC) adjacent to its biologics manufacturing facility in St Louis, Missouri.

“The work [at the BCC] will help us understand where customers are experiencing gaps in their workflow and [allow us to] develop solutions to improve the biologics manufacturing process as well as drive innovations in the technologies used in such processes,”​ Paul Jorjorian, vice president and general manager, biologics, Thermo Fisher Scientific, told BioPharma-Reporter

The center, he continued, brings together the company’s expertise in biologics, in drug substance, in manufacturing and development and in bioprocessing technologies such as bioreactors, cell line development, chromatography and analytical tools.

Locating so close to the company's GMP biologics manufacturing facility will enable to team at the BCC to rapidly provide feedback and innovate in real time, he said.

Optimizing single-use technology performance 

The BCC is looking to deliver new single-use bioprocessing technologies as well as drive critical process, data management and quality improvements, enabling customers to meet the growing need for more flexible, scalable biologics development, said the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO). 

Among some of the first projects the center will embark on include expanding single-use technology (SUT) to a larger range of molecules; simplifying scale up, from 5 to 5,000 L; and launching a new harvesting solution that will remove bottlenecks and significantly accelerate production.  

A critical goal of the BCC, said the VP, is to optimize SUT performance in the industry.  

In 2019, four out of every 10 drugs under development were biologics-based and this growth continues to drive demand for innovation, according to a report​ cited by Thermo Fisher.

The collaborative work that will be undertaken at the new center “will not only benefit our customers from biopharma to emerging biotech [companies] but it will also benefit the industry as a whole,”​ stressed Jorjorian.

Expansion projects

Investment in the BCC is part of a multi-year commitment of more than US$800m to help biopharma customers accelerate development and commercialization efforts, outlined the company.

Earlier this year​, Thermo Fisher flagged up its ambition to increase its capabilities and capacity for biologics, cell and gene therapies, and drug products. In 2019, the CDMO undertook and completed through an investment of $50m​ a capacity expansion project at its biologics manufacturing facility in St Louis. 

Similar to other large CDMOs​, it has focused on improving capabilities and capacity in the advanced therapeutics space, as it followed up the acquisition of gene therapy specialist, Brammer Bio, by doubling its capacity at its facility in Florida for gene therapy and viral vector processing​. 

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