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In November 2018, GE Healthcare opened a new manufacturing centre in Stevenage, UK. The facility is scheduled to open for commercial operations in the first half of 2019.
The new plant will manufacture products based on GE’s fibre-based purification platform FibroSelect. It is expected to increase the company’s manufacturing efficiency of products such as biopharmaceuticals, gene therapies and viral vectors.
A total of 20 people will be employed at GE Healthcare’s new biotechnology manufacturing centre when operational.
GE Healthcare’s biotechnology manufacturing centre location
The facility is located in the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC) Open Innovation Campus located 30 miles (48km) away from London.
SBC is the UK’s first open innovation campus established by a joint venture (JV) of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, GlaxoSmithKline, Wellcome and Innovate UK.
The innovation campus makes equipment and facilities accessible to small or medium-sized companies.
GE Healthcare’s biotechnology manufacturing centre details
The new biotechnology manufacturing centre will feature 3,000ft² (280m²) of cleanroom space containing bioprocessing equipment.
The fibre-based chromatography technology for purification used at the new facility was added to GE Healthcare’s portfolio following the acquisition of Puridify, a spin-out from the University College London (UCL). Puridify is also located in SBC in Stevenage.
The FibroSelect purification technology will allow for the incorporation of novel processing strategies. It will enhance the productivity of biopharmaceuticals such as monoclonal antibodies with high purification.
The technology will be used to improve the process flexibility and efficiency to meet the growing demands of the industry. The product manufacturing will support the company’s entire spectrum of bioprocess purification portfolio.
The fibre-based purification products manufactured at the facility will be further processed and finished at GE’s existing manufacturing facility in Cardiff, Wales.
GE also plans to produce products serving laboratory and clinical applications in the future.
Details of the FibroSelect process technology
The FibroSelect technology uses a material that features a new proprietary structure, which avoids the limitations of diffusion and flow related to conventional chromatography purification systems. It also removes chromatography membranes’ capacity-related issues.
The technology also overcomes issues related to predicting scaled performance in robust process due to fixed nature of material. The macroporosity of the technology enhances the purification process for biotherapeutics such as gene therapies and fusion proteins.
The optical permeability and mass transfer properties of the FibroSelect technology enables it to operate at 50 times throughput and improve productivity by ten to 50 times. The reagent performs better than the existing ones in the market in terms of impurity and cleaning steps.
The FibroSelect includes new tools and automated platforms, which improve research performance and process scales. It also reduces bioprocess development timelines and improves the predictable performance and process robustness.
Market commentary on GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare is a subsidiary of US-based conglomerate General Electric Company. The company provides a wide range of technologies for medical imaging, monitoring, drug development, and manufacturing to provide precision health technologies and therapeutics.
In addition, the company develops smart devices for data analytics. It has more than 50,000 employees working worldwide.
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