GEN What was the rationale behind the agreement?
Jornitz: Most of the equipment needed for bioprocessing is already in our product portfolio. However, when you look at an optimal bioprocess, it’s not just about the instrumentation. Medium is a key component as it impacts the cell expression rate and the downstream process itself.
With the high cell expression growth rates now being achieved in the biomanufacturing business, the purification step has become a bottleneck. We believe we have to develop and optimize the entire bioprocess, and we think we can do this in partnership with SAFC because of its long experience in the media market.
Lehr: Both companies have a similar business model and philosophy. Both strive to form close relationships with key accounts that are leaders in the marketplace. We try to understand what their challenges are throughout their production processes. Our goal is to bring consultative help and provide customized services.
As we view the entire production train, both companies understand that we have strengths and gaps in our product and service offerings. By working together, we can fill a lot of those gaps and complement each other quite well to serve even more of a customer’s needs.
GEN What does each company bring to the agreement in terms of its expertise, technology, and products? And what was the gap that helped influence your company to do the deal?
Jornitz: Regarding a gap, we are not experts in cell culture media. SAFC has that expertise. Our forté is that we provide the equipment in which media are utilized, e.g., mixing devices for media prep, holding devices like disposable bags, media filtration, and both disposable and stainless steel bioreactors.
Sartorius Stedim Biotech also offers validation services. We can validate, for instance, a particular media filtration step in regard to mycoplasma or other microbial retention. In addition, we have Discover® Plant, Process, and System Survey, a service where our team of experts comes in and looks at an entire bioprocess or pharmaceutical process. We subsequently report our findings to a client and make suggestions on how the client can improve its biomanufacturing capabilities. These kinds of surveys can be done in the future together with SAFC.
Lehr: Our core competencies have been in media development and related cell culture products used in bioreactors. But all of our products also have applications in filtration, mixing, and liquid handling. By combining with Sartorius Stedim Biotech’s strengths in those areas, we can provide much more in terms of support services and development expertise to help clients better integrate use of our products into their overall biomanufacturing operation.