GE Healthcare recently announced the acquisition of British cryogenic processing company Asymptote for an undisclosed price, strengthening its cell therapy portfolio with technologies designed to enable the cryopreservation of cellular materials. This is a very interesting acquisition by GE, further signalling the strategic intention of the organisation to establish a leading position in the growing Cell Therapy sector.
Asymptote’s pioneering cryochain technology products preserve cell viability during cryogenic processing of cellular therapies. Such treatments are very sensitive to cryopreservation and cold chain logistics, particularly at larger scales (greater than 100ml). Asymptote’s focus has been on cryopreservation at such scales, with the Cambridge-based company having developed the first liquid nitrogen-free cryogenic cold chain which additionally avoids contamination issues associated with the use of liquid nitrogen.
The acquisition is part of GE’s ongoing strategic plan to position the company as the dominant player in the cell therapy space, as highlighted by the timeline infographic below:
The long-term strategy for cell therapy market dominance parallels GE’s already established role in bioprocessing for biotechnology drugs. GE’s dominance in this space is evidenced by the fact that all eight of the new antibody drugs approved in the United States last year use GE technologies, mostly in the area of downstream processing activities.
“What differentiates GE in many ways from its competition, such as Thermo and Merck and to a lesser extent Lonza, is its philosophy and its manufacturing-led multi-industry history,” notes Evolution Director Dr. Frank Rinaldi. “GE often starts with assessing an opportunity based on a ‘Can we build a factory?’ question. This mindset clearly indicates that scale is the most important aspect of consideration for GE, and in this regard they are already leading the cell therapy sector.”
One should expect more acquisitions and alliances to occur as GE strives to execute its long-term strategy to industrialise Cell Therapy in the same manner as BioManufacturing.
You can download a PDF copy of our GE Cell Therapy Timeline infographic via the button below: