- GE Healthcare announced Tuesday it is opening a new facility in the U.K. that will produce a fiber-based purification platform designed to streamline biologics manufacturing.
- The manufacturing center, which will be located at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst Open Innovation Campus, will have 300 square feet of clean room space, and will expand the workforce at GE Healthcare's Stevenage facility to 20 people.
- The purification materials produced will go from Stevenage to GE Healthcare's manufacturing facility in Wales for processing and finishing.
GE Healthcare has, for many years, been a major global provider of medical imaging and monitoring. More recently, however, it's shown increased interest in biomanufacturing and cell and gene therapy technologies.
Biopharmaceuticals, and gene therapies more notably, are the product of complicated production processes that entail higher costs than the small molecule pills drugmaker factories can churn out by the hundreds of thousands.
As more and more of the industry turns toward complex therapies, though, contractors and technology providers are searching for ways to reduce costs while maintaining quality.
GE Healthcare's Stevenage plant uses FibroSelect technology from U.K.-based bioprocessing start-up Puridify, which GE claims can improve process speed, flexibility and robustness in the purification step. GE Healthcare acquired Puridify, and its Stevenage base and employees, in November 2017.
The technology should bring advantages for biopharmaceutical manufacturers as they move towards integrated, connected or continuous operations, and will "extend GE Healthcare's start-to-finish bioprocess purification portfolio," said Olivier Loeillot, the general manager of bioprocess at GE Healthcare Life Sciences, in a statement.
Earlier this year, GE Healthcare debuted KUBio, its "factory in a box," for fast and flexible production of the viral vectors often used in gene therapy. This redesigned unit, based on an existing model for the manufacturing of monoclonal antibodies, incorporates a single-use biomanufacturing platform and can be used to produce viral vectors, vaccines, cell therapies and some gene therapies.