Univercells expands manufacturing capabilities and core competencies

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Univercells Technologies' site in Nivelles, Belgium. © Univercells Technologies
Univercells Technologies' site in Nivelles, Belgium. © Univercells Technologies

Related tags Vaccine bioreactor single use assemblies

Univercells Technologies has completed €2m expansion of its Nivelles, Belgium site, with the goal of boosting supply chain security for biomanufacturers.

“This investment is a key step to maintaining our highly competitive bioreactor and manifold lead-times of under a month for standard items and maintaining high on time shipment while demand grows. And we will continue to take steps to evolve with the market and ensure security of supply of our capital equipment products, as well as the components needed for our consumable products,”​ commented Gareth Crothers, head of manufacturing and supply at the Belgian firm.

The site expansion exercise got underway in December 2020. The company, which is focused on delivering technology to enable flexible and scalable advanced therapies and vaccine production, said some of the goals were increase warehouse storage and ISO 8 cleanroom space, enhancing capacity for bioreactors and related single use assemblies.

The expansion also allows customers to come on-site to work in one of the new ‘hands-on’ bioprocess training suites for guidance and support.

“Nivelles is a legacy site where we first opened our cleanrooms in March of 2019. We are investing in this site to maximize our manufacturing capabilities and core competencies for customers,”​ said Mathias Garny, CEO of Univercells Technologies. “Our existing footprint has been increased by 100%, netting a 3x increase in production capacity. We have been able to insource the critical steps of preparation and assembly of our proprietary fixed bed, the key to the superior performance of all our scale-X bioreactors.”

Optimizing inoculation step for bioreactors

And in other developments at the Belgian company, last month saw it launch its scale-X cell collect module.

The new product, it said, aims to support the inoculation step for large-scale bioreactors, leveraging the principles of automation and intensification, given that the inoculation process incurs significant costs, a substantial footprint, and an increased risk of operator-related errors.

“The scale-X cell collect module has been designed to overcome these challenges, resulting in a reduced aseptic risk, and a decrease in costs, footprint, and operational time, coupled with high reproducibility,”​ said the supplier.

The goal was to drastically decrease risk of failure and contamination as well as reducing process volumes, while increasing product yields, added Florence Vicaire, new CCO at Univercells:

The new scale-X cell collect module achieves those goals and represents another building block in our portfolio of tailored solutions the bioprocess industry can count on to efficiently commercialize advanced therapy processes.”

The system is an add-on harvest module for the scale-X carbo bioreactor and will be available for commercial use in Q1 2023, said the tech developer.

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