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Aspen Alert

Issue # 3596 | December 6th, 2021      

   News Alert

AstraZeneca Objections Torpedo $8 Billion Sobi Acquisition

Less than three months after Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (Sobi) agreed to be acquired by Advent International and GIC Special Investments for nearly $8 billion, the deal has fallen through after AstraZeneca withheld its 8% stake from the buyout offer. Advent, GIC and Sobi needed the support of 90% of shareholders to close the deal, which was announced in September. The deal looked as good as done when Sobi’s largest stakeholder, Investor AB, agreed to the offer. Investor AB holds a 35% stake in Sobi. Although AstraZeneca only had an 8% stake, other investors opted to withhold their stakes as well, which, when combined with the U.K. pharma company’s share, was enough to nix the deal. AstraZeneca objected to the acquisition due to its desire to acquire certain assets from Sobi, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed people who were familiar with the behind-the-scenes negotiations.
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Resilience Acquires SwiftScale Biologics, a Leader in Cell-Free Protein Synthesis Technology

Resilience has announced the acquisition of SwiftScale Biologics, a San Leandro, California-based company developing cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) technology. CFPS eliminates the constraints of using living cells in the drug manufacturing process, resulting in faster production times, less variability across batches and greater scalability with hard-to-produce proteins. With strong demand in the biopharma industry for multispecific drugs and other complex biologics, CFPS is a promising avenue to produce these next-generation therapies. Upon further development, Resilience intends to integrate this technology into its future manufacturing platforms. No word yet on the financial terms of the deal.
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Berkeley City Council Approves Bayer Campus Expansion

The Berkeley City Council has endorsed a development plan for the expansion of the Bayer HealthCare West Berkeley campus. The 30-year plan with the German biopharma company was approved unanimously. Under the deal, which had been months in the making, the city will allow Bayer to build more than 1 million square feet of new structures. The agreement streamlines the review process for constructions, including a parking structure, green spaces and the expansion of two warehouses. As part of the deal, Bayer agreed to pay the city of Berkeley more than $33 million, beginning with $800,000 in 2022 and increasing by 2% over the rest of the 30 years.
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   Quote Alert

   On This Day Alert

December 6th is St. Nicholas Day 

St. Nicholas Day, or Feast of St. Nicholas, is December 6 and marks the anniversary of the death of the third-century Catholic saint who inspired the modern versions of Santa Claus. Not to be confused with Christmas, St. Nicholas Day is also rooted in a tradition of giving, stemming from the saint’s legendary generosity. St. Nicholas is said to have sold all that he owned, giving the money to the poor. He dedicated his entire life serving and caring for the sick and suffering.
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  TED Alert

The Magical Power of Giving

Seven years ago, Lynne Dale's life was turned upside down when her 15-year-old daughter, Summer, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. This is the story of the journey the two of them took together and what they learned about the magical power of giving. Team Summer, President of Board This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
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  Poll Alert

Is it old fashioned for a man to pay for a first date?

► Yes
► No

Previous Poll Results:

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  Bioprocess Alert

Hydrocyclones as Cell Retention Device for CHO Perfusion Processes in Single-Use Bioreactors 

In this study, a hydrocyclone (HC) especially designed for mammalian cell separation was applied for the separation of Chinese hamster ovary cells. The effect of key features on the separation efficiency, such as type of pumphead in the peristaltic feed pump, use of an auxiliary pump to control the perfusate flow rate, and tubing size in the recirculation loop were evaluated in batch separation tests. Based on these preliminary batch tests, the HC was then integrated to 50-L disposable bioreactor bags. Three perfusion runs were performed, including one where perfusion was started from a low-viability late fed-batch culture, and viability was restored. To our knowledge, this is the first report in literature of high cell densities obtained with a HC integrated to a disposable perfusion bioreactor.
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Survey Alert

Which best describes your view as to the origin of COVID-19? Please comment on your reason(s).

► Created in a Lab
► Occurred Naturally

Previous Survey Results:

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  Upstream Alert

Mass Transfer in a Single-Use Angled-Shaft Aerated Stirred Bioreactor Applicable for Animal Cell Culture

In this paper, the effects of the impeller speed, the volumetric gas flow rate, and the impeller type on the volumetric gas-liquid mass transfer coefficient in a single-use unbaffled angled-shaft bioreactor applicable for the animal cell culture were analyzed and compared with those attained for the baffled vertical-shaft bioreactors. The volumetric gas-liquid mass transfer coefficient (KLa) was experimentally determined by the simplified dynamic pressure method. The lowest P/V values as well as the highest KLa values were achieved for an unbaffled angled-shaft bioreactor. It was found that the Rushton impeller was the most efficient impeller in term of mass transfer for this bioreactor. An empirical correlation for the mass transfer coefficient was also developed.
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Event Alert

Troubleshooting in Bioprocessing 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

In this webinar we will address general and day-to-day challenges in the bioprocessing workflow from shake flask to production and discuss possible solutions. We will initially look on common challenges in reactor set-ups and configurations. What vessel and impeller type are the appropriate one for different culture demands (e.g. shear sensitivity, high oxygen demands), what process parameters control is essential and how the integration of additional analytical tools can help to improve process stability. We will address frequent challenges in cultivation, e.g. how to produce reproducible inoculums in shake flasks, how to prevent contamination in a bioreactor, during transfer or sampling and how to cope with difficulties in cultivation in the bioreactor, e.g. foaming or viscous solutions.
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 Downstream Alert

Improved Protein A Resin for Antibody Capture in a Continuous Countercurrent Tangential Chromatography System 

In this study, a small particle size prototype agarose resin (20–25 µm) with lower cross-linking was co-developed with industrial partner Purolite and tested with CCTC. Due to increased binding capacity and faster kinetics, the resulting CCTC process showed more than a 2X increase in productivity, and a 2X reduction in buffer consumption over commercial protein A resins used in previous CCTC studies, as well as more than a 10X productivity increase versus conventional column operation. Single-pass tangential flow filtration was integrated with the CCTC system, enabling simple control of eluate concentration. A scale-up exercise was conducted to provide a quantitative comparison of CCTC and batch column chromatography.
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  Podcast Alert

Omicron: Do You Need to Freak Out? 

Welp, the pandemic has served up yet another poop sandwich, and it’s called omicron. This variant is popping up in dozens of countries across the world, and scientists are racing to get a handle on it. So how bad could this be? And could it sneak past our vaccines? To find out, we talk to virologist and immunologist Professor Ann Sheehy, Prof. Art Wallace, epidemiologist Dr. Barbara Cohn, immunologist Dr. Ali Ellebedy and virologist Dr. John Tembo.
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  Fill/Finish Alert

Digital Twin for Lyophilization by Process Modeling in Manufacturing of Biologics

Lyophilization stabilizes formulated biologics for storage, transport and application to patients. In process design and operation it is the link between downstream processing and with final formulation to fill and finish. Recent activities in Quality by Design (QbD) have resulted in approaches by regulatory authorities and the need to include Process Analytical Technology (PAT) tools. An approach is outlined to validate a predictive physical-chemical (rigorous) lyophilization process model to act quantitatively as a digital twin in order to allow accelerated process design by modeling and to further-on develop autonomous process optimization and control towards real time release testing.
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  Regulatory Alert

CDC Director Confirms FDA in Talks to Streamline Authorization of Omicron-Specific Vaccine 

The director of the CDC has confirmed that the FDA is in discussions to streamline the authorization of an omicron-specific vaccine. This came during an appearance on the show “This Week” on ABC in which CDC Director Rochelle Walensky stated, “Yeah, you know, much of that I would have to defer to the FDA, but they're already in conversations about streamlining the authorization of this, of an omicron-specific vaccine, partially because much of the vaccine is actually exactly the same, and, really, it would just be that mRNA code that would have to change.” Walensky’s comments follow a report by The Wall Street Journal last week that indicated the FDA was eyeing steps for a rapid review of drugs and vaccines specific to the omicron variant in the event that new variant-specific tools were needed.
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  Discovery Alert

Immune System-Stimulating Nanoparticle Could Lead to More Powerful Vaccines 

A common strategy to make vaccines more powerful is to deliver them along with an adjuvant -- a compound that stimulates the immune system to produce a stronger response. Researchers from MIT, the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, and other institutions have now designed a new nanoparticle adjuvant that may be more potent than others now in use. Studies in mice showed that it significantly improved antibody production following vaccination against HIV, diphtheria, and influenza. The researchers now hope to incorporate the adjuvant into an HIV vaccine that is currently being tested in clinical trials, in hopes of improving its performance.
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  Project Alert

Fujifilm Investing $500+ Million to Double Size of Biologics Manufacturing Site

A Teesside factory that makes Covid-19 vaccines has received a $532 million injection from its Japanese owners, the largest single investment in UK biopharma manufacturing in decades. The biotechnology arm of the Japanese conglomerate Fujifilm said the package would more than double its Billingham site’s development and manufacturing capability, creating the largest biopharmaceutical factory with several different technologies in the UK. The factory in Stockton-on-Tees produces ingredients from biological sources for pharmaceutical treatments, such as microbes, cell cultures and viral vectors, used to deliver genetic material into cells. The new facilities are expected to be up and running by late 2023.
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  Patent Alert

Fixed Bed Bioreactor and Methods of Using the Same

A U.S. Patent for a "Fixed Bed Bioreactor and Methods of Using the Same" was awarded to Corning on September 14th, 2021. The present invention is a fixed-bed bioreactor system that includes a vessel with a media inlet, a media outlet, and an interior cavity disposed between and in fluid communication with the media inlet and media outlet. The vessel further includes a cell culture substrate disposed in the interior cavity between the media inlet and the media outlet in a packed-bed configuration, the cell culture substrate including a plurality of porous disks in a stacked arrangement. The interior cavity includes a cell culture section and a spacer section, the cell culture substrate defining the cell culture section and the spacer section being disposed between the cell culture section and the media outlet, and each of the plurality of porous disks has a surface configured to culture cells thereon.
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  Solution Alert

Protecting Single-Use Bags to Foster Their Growth

Twenty years ago there was only steel. Biopharmaceutical manufacturing has been conducted by fixed stainless-steel installations for a long time. Pharmaceutical products were produced in rigid, inflexible vessels and pipings by cell culturing and/or fermentation, purification, filtering, filling and freezing. Only until single-use systems, such as single-use bags, aseptic fluid management tubings made of plastic, have proven to provide manufacturers with way more advantages for bioprocessing. They are more flexible, scalable, faster and cost effective. And yet there is hesitation. How can single-use technologies continue to thrive?
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  Humor Alert

  Fact Alert

Giving Is Good For Your Health

Studies show how giving affects your body. We all know giving helps others, whether we volunteer for organizations, offer emotional support to those around us or donate to charities. But did you know that the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from helping others is actually good for you? Studies show that giving can actually boost your physical and mental health and delivers a host of benefits to the body and brain such as:

  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Increased self-esteem.
  • Less depression.
  • Lower stress levels.
  • Longer life.
  • Greater happiness and satisfaction.

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   Career Alert

Codexis
Associate Director, Upstream Bioprocess Development (BioTx)
Redwood City, CA
We are looking to hire an Associate Director to lead the Biotherapeutics Upstream Bioprocess Development team. In this role you will leverage your technical expertise and leadership skills to lead upstream process development and scale up of recombinant protein productions of biotherapeutic enzymes. Learn More

Abbott Laboratories
Scientist, Technology Development
San Diego, CA
Abbott is currently looking for dynamic individual, Scientist - Technology Development, with a proven track record of innovation in the areas of molecular amplification technologies, protein engineering and/or sample preparation who will help drive the design and development of a novel diagnostic point-of-use platform. Learn More

Flownamics
Technical Sales Representatives
Various, United States
The ideal candidate will have a bachelor’s degree or relevant experience in biopharma. Responsibilities include travel throughout the assigned territory calling on both existing and prospective customers to promote Flownamics products and services, documenting sales activities and the like. Learn More

Sartorius
Product Specialist, Chromatography Hardware - Remote
Field Application Specialist, Bioprocessing – Chromatography - Remote
Field Application Specialist, Bioprocessing – Chromatography - Remote
New Customer Sales Specialist - Marlborough, MA
Customer Development Specialist - Marlborough, MA
Customer Development Specialist - Fremont, CA
Customer Development Specialist - Remote
Order Process Management Specialist - Bohemia, NY
Order Process Management Specialist - Marlborough, MA
Order Process Management Specialist II - Bohemia, NY
Order Process Management Specialist III - Bohemia, NY

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