£15bn company GE Healthcare announced the opening of a biotechnology manufacturing center in Stevenage, to improve the purification steps of manufacturing biopharmaceuticals.
In the first half of 2019, the center will start producing a fiber-based purification platform, which has the potential to significantly improve efficiency in the purification steps of manufacturing biopharmaceuticals, gene therapies and viral vectors.
The fiber-based purification platform comprises material with a unique structure. This reportedly has the potential to significantly improve process speed, flexibility and robustness during purification, a key step in the manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals.
Opening the new facility, which incorporates 3,000 sq. ft of cleanroom space, this an enclosed area in which airborne particulates, contaminants, and pollutants are kept within strict limits, will enable additional products to also be produced to serve both laboratory and clinical applications.
The fiber-based purification products will be prepared in Stevenage before being further processed in the company’s existing manufacturing facility in Wales.
Biopharmaceuticals, such as monoclonal antibodies—these are antibodies made up of identical immune cells—are the world’s fastest-growing class of medicine. The global market for biopharmaceuticals is estimated at over £150bn, and the market is growing around 8% annually, according to GE.
Why is biotechnology important?
Biotechnology has helped improve many different sectors, from the pharmaceutical through to the food and drink industry. Biotech can improve the quality, quantity and processing of many products.
It has many applications in manufacturing, for example cells can be researched, developed and manipulated to produce chemicals, this particular relevant to process manufacturing. Perhaps most importantly though, the technology can be used to advance healthcare.
Through methods like genetic engineering, scientists have been able to create new medicines for life-changing illnesses, for example produce synthetic human growth hormone and synthetic insulin, for those who without it would not survive.
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