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EMD Millipore partners with UK firms Ark and Plasticell

16-Aug-2012
Last updated on 16-Aug-2012 at 13:07 GMT

EMD Millipore has announced two new collaborations this week focused on vaccine bioengineering and stem cell media.

The firm – a division of German drugmaker Merck KGaA – teamed up with UK-based Ark Therapeutics to develop optimised vaccines and other live viral products and establish pilot and production scale manufacturing lines at the latter’s plant in Kuopio, Finland.

EMD will set up a biosafety level 2 (BSL 2) suite, which is suitable for agents of moderate potential hazard to personnel and the environment, at the facility to allow Ark to the processing and manufacturing technology as part of its manufacturing services business.

David Venables, Ark’s Chief Executive Officer commented: “We are delighted to announce this collaboration with EMD Millipore which combines Ark’s unrivalled expertise in commercialisable GMP manufacturing processes for live viral products and EMD Millipore’s pre-eminent position in bioprocessing integrated solutions and high-performance devices.”

Millipore’s deal with UK stem cell differentiation specialist Plasticell is more focused on products rather than development.

Under the agreement – financial terms of which have not been disclosed – Plasticell has licensed EMD rights to distribute a single-application osteogenic stem cell growth medium discovered using its massively parallel combinatorial screening system, CombiCult.

In contrast to other osteogenic media, Plasticell’s claims it formulation is fully defined (serum–free) and contains no xenogeneic components.

Moreover, the company says that mineralisation can be detected in less than one week, whereas competing products that contain serum require approximately 21 days to attain similar levels of bone formation. 

At present the medium is used by Organovo, a San Diego-based bioprinting company, which uses stem cells to ‘print’ human tissues, but Plasticell’s decision to issue a global license to major distributer like EMD suggests it is in the market for more customers.

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