Cell Therapy Manufacturing Update: Merck Becomes the First to Introduce Acoustic Technology

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With its acquisition of FloDesign Sonics earlier this month, Merck/MilliporeSigma has become the first company to introduce acoustic technology in cell therapy manufacturing. The acquisition of FloDesign Sonics is a strategic fit for Merck, strengthening its ability alongside to manufacture cell-based therapies for patients.

What is Acoustic Cell Processing: Acoustic cell processing is a disruptive technology that allows for the manipulation of cells with ultrasonic waves. FloDesign Sonics’ acoustic cell processing platform allows enhanced cell washing and concentration for manufacturing cell therapies.  As per an interview with FloDesign Sonics’ CEO, the platform leverages a patented 3D acoustic wave to manipulate cells and particles in suspension. This gentle, non-invasive technology effectively suspends target cells within standing waves in a chamber while material continuously passes through the chamber.

Advantage of Acoustic Cell Processing Over Traditional Approaches: The technology helps the manufacturers to achieve in one process that is traditional achieved separately through filtration, centrifugation, and cell selection. This helps in significantly reducing the time required in training and technology transfer.

What Other Companies are Using This Technology: FloDesign Sonics’ technology is currently being used by Pall Biotech, which offers a portfolio of scalable single-use technologies for continuous bioprocessing. The company’s platform is based on acoustic wave separation that can be used either for clarification of fed-batch cell culture or cell retention in perfusion cell culture.

Last year, FloDesign Sonics signed a technology development collaboration agreement with Cognate BioServices, a leading, CDMO, to advance the accessibility of life-saving therapeutics.  The aim of the collaboration was to advance the development of life-saving therapeutics by improving manufacturing efficiencies using FloDesign Sonics’ Acoustic Cell Processing (ACP) platform.

Applikon Biotechnology is another company that is using acoustic technology. According to the company, the Applikon BioSep system is a unique, cell retention device for high-density perfusion processes. The device uses high frequency resonant ultrasonic waves to separate cells instead of a physical mesh or membrane.  It, therefore, offers all the benefits of traditional devices but without their inherent problems and limitations. There are a few other companies that claim to be using acoustic technology.

How Does this Impact the Overall Cell Therapy Manufacturing Market? According to a report by Roots Analysis, the novel technologies being developed for cell therapies have the capability to save significant cost in the manufacturing of these therapies.

Get detailed insights into the overall cell therapy manufacturing market here.

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