- GE Healthcare has acquired the British cold-chain technology specialist Asymptote, Ltd, aiming to boost its capabilities in the growing market for cell therapy manufacturing.
- "The acquisition of Asymptote fills a critical gap in GE Healthcare’s end-to-end ecosystem of products and services for cell therapy production," the tech and manufacturing giant said in an April 11 statement.
- GE's pick-up of Asymptote is the latest in a string of investments in cell therapy over the past year, following the acquisition of Biosafe SA and deals with the Mayo Clinic and the Canadian government.
Asymptote's calling card is technology it terms cryochain hardware, designed for ultra-low temperature freezing from production to delivery at the clinic before administration.
Freezing helps to lower the risk of contamination seen in more traditional manufacturing processes, a critical issue in cell therapy where the process is the product, in a sense.
As GE notes, research into cell therapy has taken off and a number of treatments are emerging from the clinic and nearing markets. Both Kite Pharma and Novartis, for example, have submitted their CAR-T cancer therapies for approval, and other companies across the industry are working on allogeneic and autologous cell-based therapeutics.
Asymptote pairs its own software platform with freeze and thawing methods to enable better standardization across sites and improve visibility. Even more so than other supply chains, cell therapy developers need to ensure chains of control and identity when transporting cells from manufacturing sites to the patient.
GE's prior deal with Biosafe SA gave it access to cell bioprocessing systems, while a collaboration with the Canadian government set up a cell therapy center in Toronto to promote development of new technologies.
The aim of all these deals, according to Ger Bropy, head of GE Healthcare's cell therapy unit, is to "industrialize" cell therapy and broaden access to the innovative medicines as the market develops.