About two years ago, Eppendorf acquired New Brunswick Scientific (NBS). Known for shakers, fermentors, bioreactors, incubators, and freezers, NBS continues to operate under its own name, and the staff and management have remained largely intact.
“The merger converted NBS from a mid-size, publicly held company to a large private one, with greater resources to design, sell, and support our broad range of life science equipment,” says Jim Orcutt, president and CEO at NBS.
Eppendorf and NBS share similar corporate cultures. Both started in the 1940s as small family businesses that grew into corporations with a legacy of innovative products, Orcutt says. By merging, the two companies continue to manufacture laboratory equipment and supplies, based on Eppendorf’s expertise in designing and manufacturing plastics and NBS’ knowledge of cell culture and bioprocess controls.
“Our merger with New Brunswick has been successful because our companies share a common vision of providing customers with top-quality equipment and backing it with unparalleled customer support,” adds Klaus Fink, CEO at Eppendorf.
Thinking Outside the Bag
“Very shortly after the merger, we started our first collaborative development project,” Orcutt says. The result is the CelliGen™ BLU, a benchtop bioreactor featuring a single-use stirred-tank vessel and state-of-the-art control station. CelliGen was released worldwide last month.
Single-use, disposable systems have been on the market for several years and provide several advantages, according to Orcutt, including reducing start-up costs; making validation easier; eliminating cleaning and autoclaving; and allowing for quick changeovers between production runs. However, researchers and bioprocess professionals told NBS that they also valued the control accuracy and scalability of traditional stirred-tank systems.
“CelliGen BLU works exactly like traditional stirred-tank bioreactors, yet the entire vessel, including the impeller, gas sparger, and sensors, are disposable,” explains Orcutt. The CelliGen BLU is designed for benchtop and scale-up use to move processes into production. It comes in 5 L and 14 L total volume sizes.
All components that come in contact with products are made of USP Class VI materials and are fully tested for leachable and extractable contaminants, Orcutt notes. The control station includes built-in firmware to control up to 32 parameters, and can be custom-configured with options such as four-gas mixing or multiple thermal mass flow controllers to produce high cell densities.