Culture Biosciences began offering microbial fermentation services two years ago. Now they aim to tap into the large and growing market for biologics.
“[Pharma firms] don’t need their own bioreactors, lab, or technicians. Instead, they have full control over their experiments and the data streams back to them—as if the bioreactors were in their own lab,” explains Will Patrick, CEO and co-founder of Culture Biosciences.
“Mammalian cell culture is used to produce the vast majority of biologics. We wanted to make a version of our technology for that,” he explains, adding that among the typical use cases are cell line development, process development, and media optimization.
Culture Biosciences piloted their mammalian cell services with three customers in the summer and fall of 2020. They recently published the data collected with these pilot customers in a white paper. According to Patrick, having tested their mammalian cell services, they’re now offering them to the wider industry.
The typical clients, Patrick continues, are fast-growing companies of any size that need to quickly expand their experimental capacity.
“Cell and gene therapy is another area where we’re seeing interest and excitement for a product like ours,” he says.
The company also has clients developing cytokines, non-monoclonal antibodies, and protein therapeutics. In these cases, he explains, the manufacturing processes are less well understood than traditional biologics and need extra development before handing to a traditional CDMO.
“They’re a good fit for us because they want to do the process development work themselves, but also want quick, easy access to infrastructure,” he points out.
Clients begin a relationship with the company by transferring technology and translating their process to the offsite bioreactors—in the same way as with a traditional CDMO. Subsequently, they have guaranteed capacity on the bioreactors, and can use a software tool to schedule experiments for a particular day.
Unlike with a traditional CDMO, Patrick explains, the results of the experiments are immediately available.
“The software represents all the information they want to know, versus the old CDMO paradigm where you don’t hear anything for months and then they supply an Excel spreadsheet,” he says. “It’s a big thing we’re changing with our technology.”