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Aspen Alert

Issue # 3540 | September 17th, 2021      

   News Alert

Retaining Biotech Employees in the New War for Talent 

With multiple job openings across the industry, biopharma employers have to come up with different strategies to retain top talent. And that’s just what gene therapy company AVROBIO has done. The company invests time and additional training into its employees to “re-recruit” the talent. Georgette Verdin, chief human resources officer at the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company, noted that employee turnover across the biotech industry has been as high as 20% in the most recent quarter. And that could go much higher by the end of the year. “There’s so much money going into the industry and it’s creating all these new businesses and allowing some existing companies to see significant growth,” Verdin said.
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Pfizer Backs a Small Swiss Upstart's Attempt to Discover a Non-Viral Gene Therapy 

Joël de Beer made it just a few months into his PhD program at ETH Zurich before he dropped out to join the hunt for the holy grail of gene therapy — a non-viral delivery mechanism. Now that he’s raised $61 million from some big-name backers — including Pfizer’s venture arm — to aid that quest, the pressure is on. Anjarium Biosciences uncloaked this week after four years in stealth mode, sporting a Series A round co-led by Abingworth and Gimv. The team of five has set up shop in a picturesque village about 40 minutes outside of Zurich to solve the current challenges of AAV using DNA-based gene vectors.
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Repligen Paying $150M for Chromatography Developer Avitide

Repligen is paying $150 million, $75 million cash and another $75 million in stock, to acquire New Hampshire based Avitide, the developer of a suite of products for affinity purification. The company has created products capable of purifying enzymes, bispecific antibodies, hormones, vaccines, and gene therapy viral vectors, among many other biologics used in drug development. "The addition of Avitide is a major step forward in building out our Proteins business and in particular our affinity ligand discovery engine," Repligen CEO Tony Hunt said in a statement.
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   Quote Alert

   On This Day Alert

1683 - Bacteria is Discovered

Anton van Leeuwenhoek writes a letter to Britain's Royal Society describing the "animalcules" he observed under a microscope, creating the first known description of bacteria. He used a single lens microscope of his own design to observe the bacteria in mouth plaque.
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  TED Alert

Hacking Bacteria To Fight Cancer 

In 1884, an unlucky patient who had a rapidly growing cancer in his neck came down with an unrelated bacterial skin infection. As he recovered from the infection, the cancer surprisingly began to recede. The infection had stimulated the patient's immune system. Today, synthetic biologists program bacteria to safely deliver drugs directly to tumors. How is this possible? Tal Danino investigates.
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  Poll Alert

Do you think the United States will or will not be the world's biggest superpower in ten years' time?

► Will
► Will Not

Previous Poll Results:

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  Bioprocess Alert

MIR Spectroscopy for Continuous Control and Monitoring of Metabolites

A new measurement system, which is based on mid-infrared spectroscopy, allows to monitor multiple bioprocesses online at the same time. Applications of the instrument are foreseen in upstream bioprocessing, in metabolite monitoring and control, as well as in downstream bioprocessing to aid in aggregation studies, contaminant detection or the monitoring of target proteins and excipients.
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Survey Alert

Do you expect the adoption of the technology for automated sampling from a bioreactor to increase, decrease or remain unchanged?

► Increase
► Decrease
► Remain Unchanged

Previous Survey Results:

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  Upstream Alert

Evaluation of Alicat Mass Flow Controllers’ Resistance to Backpressure Contamination 

Mass flow controllers (MFCs) are essential to many modern production and test processes. Precise and reliable flow control is particularly important for efficient, sustainable production in applications such as glass fabrication and bioprocessing. Within such processes, MFCs occasionally face the challenge of encountering unexpected water or foam contamination. This is especially common in bioprocessing applications, where large quantities of liquid and foam/film can lead to gas buildup. This can increase the downstream pressure, introducing the potential for contamination of upstream process devices with biological materials and culture media.  We set up an experiment to simulate contamination of an Alicat MFC with foamy liquid and examined its effects on the MFC’s ability to accurately control mass flow.
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Event Alert

2021 PDA Pharmaceutical Microbiology Conference

Monday, October 4th - Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

This Conference continues the ongoing tradition of addressing the opportunities and challenges, most relevant, to the future of microbiology in today’s global market. Join new and seasoned professionals from all facets of the field, including global industry, academia, and regulatory authorities, to share insights on how to best prepare for the future through the sharing of best practices, development of standards, and integration of innovative technologies. The comprehensive program agenda will include presentations from global regulatory and industry experts who will share recent case studies and current trends in the field of pharmaceutical microbiology.
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 Downstream Alert

Development and Optimization of Multicolumn Chromatography for mAb Perfusion Processes 

The maturation of the bioprocessing industry is driving the desire to reduce manufacturing costs through process intensification. Here we discuss the motivation for more productive upstream perfusion processes and the implications for downstream purification. The focus of the article is how to optimize the downstream process chromatography steps based on perfusion upstream. A range of different chromatography solutions are explored and their possible impact on the purification process discussed. 
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  Podcast Alert

Weight: Is Fat Unhealthy?

We’re hearing nonstop chatter about the “quarantine 15.” But should we really care if we put on weight? Is fat bad for us? We talk to Prof. Henry Blackburn, Assoc. Prof. Laura den Hartigh, and Assoc. Prof. A. Janet Tomiyama. 
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  Fill/Finish Alert

De-Risking the Final Formulation, Fill and Finish Step in Cell Therapy Manufacturing: Considerations for an Automated Solution

Final formulation and cryopreservation of the cell product is a critical and high-value step in cell therapy manufacturing. At this stage, the cells have been through a tedious selection, modification and expansion process, and maintaining their health and viability through this step is of utmost importance. This downstream step of final formulation heavily relies on manual processes that bring inherent user-dependent variability, and it becomes unsustainable with the demand for increased output in a manufacturing setting. The necessity to reduce open process steps, ensure process traceability, minimize DMSO contact time with cells and facilitate electronic data capture establishes the need for flexible automation at this step.
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  Regulatory Alert

FDA Continues Data Modernization with New Office of Digital Transformation 

The US FDA is moving forward in plans to modernize its data and information technology efforts with the launch of a new Office of Digital Transformation (ODT). “Good data management, built into all of our work, ultimately helps us meet and advance the FDA’s mission to ensure safe and effective products for American families,” said acting FDA commissioner Janet Woodcock, in a press release announcing the newest step in its technology modernization plan. The implementation of the data modernization action plan began in early 2021; this next phase is focused on efforts to “identify and execute high value driver projects for individual centers and for the agency,” according to the press release. ODT will have an agency-wide perspective and provide leadership on IT, data and cybersecurity issues at the enterprise level, according to the new office’s website. 
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  Discovery Alert

Cancer Cells’ Unexpected Genetic Tricks for Evading the Immune System

So-called tumor suppressor genes have long been known to block cell growth, preventing cancerous cells from spreading. Mutations in these genes, scientists believed, thus allow tumors to flourish unchecked. Now, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator Stephen Elledge's team has uncovered a surprising new action for many of these defective genes. More than 100 mutated tumor suppressor genes can prevent the immune system from spotting and destroying malignant cells in mice , Elledge, a geneticist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, reports this week, in the journal Science. "The shock was that these genes are all about getting around the immune system, as opposed to simply saying 'grow, grow, grow!'" he says.
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  Project Alert

WuXi’s Ongoing Demand for Capacity Drive's Planned MA Investment to $300 Million 

Plans for a first US facility were drawn up by China-headquartered contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) WuXi Biologics in 2018, with construction beginning in Worcester two years later. But after winning planning approval from the local council last week, WuXi Biologics will expand the site, quadrupling bioreactor single-use capacity through an additional $235 million of investment. “We originally planned a 6,000 L facility with a $65 million investment,” WuXi Biologics’ CEO Chris Chen told BioProcess Insider. “To support onshoring initiatives and be closer to our customers in the US, we have upgraded the facilities to 24,000 L of capacity with approximately $300 million investment.”
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  Patent Alert

Single-Pass Filtration Systems and Processes

A U.S. Patent for "Single-Pass Filtration Systems and Processes" was awarded to MilliporeSigma on June 22, 2021. The present invention provides, in various embodiments, hybrid single-pass tangential flow filtration assemblies, disposable single-pass tangential flow filtration assemblies, scalable single-pass tangential flow filtration assemblies and adaptable modular single-pass tangential flow filtration assemblies. In other embodiments, the invention relates to processes for recovering proteins from the surface of a filtration membrane in a single-pass tangential flow filtration assembly and for cleaning a tangential flow filtration assembly. In additional embodiments, the invention provides methods of increasing the processing capacity of a single-pass tangential flow filtration assembly.
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  Solution Alert

Polar Integrations 

IDBS Polar provides out-of-the-box integrations combined with out-of-the-box workflows to significantly reduce the time and complexity of implementation. Powered by the Digital Lab Exchange (DLXTM) platform, Polar workflows ensure data integrity and drive strategic insight through a comprehensive, vendor-neutral strategy based on a modern cloud-based architecture with robust security, compliance, and laboratory-specific functionality.
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  Humor Alert

  Fact Alert

It’s Possible to Create Art in a Petri Dish – In Fact, There’s a Competition For It

Think of the coolest, most unique way to create art that you can. Got it? Now think about creating that art out of living things. The American Society For Microbiology (ASM) holds an annual art contest, but it's no ordinary art they look for. The ASM looks for agar art, which results in, essentially, creating a painting with bacteria. It's fascinating; using an agar plate which feeds the bacteria as they grow, artists inoculate the plates with bacteria that are naturally colorful or those with fluorescent genes of different colors to create vivid art pieces.
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   Career Alert

Brooks Instrument
Industrial Account Manager (New England Territory)
New England Area
Manage the direct sales to key accounts in the New England territory to achieve short-term and long-term business objectives. Learn More

Charter Medical
Associate Director, Product Management
Winston-Salem, NC
The Associate Director, Product Management will manage and provide tactical support for Charter fluid management product lines in Cell Therapy and Bioprocessing. This person will participate in key projects including R&D, product support, quality and operations. Learn More

Charter Medical
Sales Representative, Bioprocessing and Regenerative Medicine
Winston-Salem, NC
The Sales Representative, Bioprocessing and Regenerative Medicine, will achieves sales and profitability targets for the designated sales territory. This person will become technically proficient in all of Charter Medical’s technology and be able to communicate effectively with prospective customers. Learn More

Bio-Rad
Senior Product Manager – Chromatography
Hercules, CA
We are looking for a highly motivated Senior Product Manager to join our team in the Protein Purification Business at Bio-Rad Laboratories.  Product development experience in the life science research field is a must-have, as this role will drive new products and solutions for the research markets. Learn More

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