Seahorse Bioscience, which manufactures instruments and consumables for cell-based metabolic assays, acquired BioProcessors, which makes microplate-sized cards with six small bioreactors for bioprocess scale-up and optimization. The two companies will be integrated and operate under the Seahorse name.
Concurrently, a $6 million financing was completed, which included Commonwealth Capital, Oxford Bioscience, Flagship Ventures, Life Sciences Partners, FLIR Systems Inc., Healthcare Ventures, New Science Ventures, and HLM Venture Partners.
According to Jay Teich, CEO of Seahorse Bioscience, one of the main drivers behind the acquisition was Bioprocessors’ SimCell product, which “modernizes out-of-date technology by moving biomanufacturing groups away from shake flasks and toward using microbioreactor arrays. Now, one person, instead of carrying out 30 experiments over two weeks, can run hundreds of experiments during the same time.”
These experiments can involve studies for selecting clones, optimizing medium, or determining the best process conditions for protein manufacturing. Teich says that one of the main impediments to the successful development of novel drugs is biomanufacturing and “this is where SimCell fits in very nicely.”
He explains that Seahorse Bioscience’s XF series of instruments measure energy consumption and mitochondrial function in cells in a 24- or 96-well microplate.
“XF has enabled new insights into the metabolic deficiencies underlying many neurological diseases, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease as well as an early indication of potential toxicities of candidate drug compounds,” he notes.
A key aspect of the new integrated company, with expertise in drug discovery and biomanufacturing, is the synergy of the technologies involved, according to Teich.
“XF and SimCell are composed of smart plastic disposables,” he points out. “They both have similar fluorescent oxygen sensors and pH sensors. XF measures the oxygen consumption rate and acidification rate in cells as well as the carbon dioxide produced by those cells. SimCell monitors pH and oxygen levels in cell culture.”
Plans for now are to leave SimCell as is and to add more functionality for other applications in the future.