GE increases cell culture media production capacity tenfold


Newly built manufacturing suite in Austria and expanded capacity at the Logan site in the US to support biopharma companies

GE's facility in Pasching, Austria

GE's facility in Pasching, Austria

GE Healthcare Life Sciences has said it is increasing the annual production capacity of powdered cell culture media tenfold in its facility in Pasching, Austria. The company is also doubling its powdered cell culture media manufacturing capacity in Logan, Utah in the US and is expanding the site’s stability services offering to support biopharma companies with stability data on their custom media formulations.

GE currently has three cell culture media production facilities globally: in Pasching, Austria; Tuas in Singapore that was opened in 2014, and in Logan, Utah (US) where GE also has custom media capabilities.

Olivier Loeillot, general manager, BioProcess, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, explained: "The biopharmaceutical industry is focusing even more on security of supply and consistent quality of the key technologies and materials used in their manufacturing processes. The capacity increase in Pasching helps us to meet the growing customer demand in Europe for powdered cell culture media, which is a continued trend in more mature biopharmaceutical markets due to their longer shelf-life and lower transportation and storage costs compared to liquid media."

Loeillot said that in Europe and in the US, the current uptake of powdered media is already between 60% and 70%

Cell culture media - a critical ingredient in biopharmaceutical production, supporting the growth of cells – is the fastest growing segment within the cell culture market valued at US$ 1.4 billion in 2017. The estimated growth rate is around 8% for the next few years, mainly driven by the increasing demand for biopharmaceuticals, increasing investment in R&D and favoUrable governmental policies.

Today, cell culture media development and production are highly sophisticated, and different formulations enriched with amino acids, vitamins, fatty acids and lipids have been created to optimise the growth of a wide range of cell types.

GE’s is also running a major manufacturing transformation project in Logan, Utah using GE’s Brilliant Manufacturing software suite that combines lean and advanced manufacturing with software analytics. For example, the new electronic batch record system is going to remove over seven million manual entries and substantially reduce the time required to conduct 100,000 internal batch record quality reviews annually.

The digital solutions will also provide greater transparency for biopharmaceutical companies, as they will be receiving real-time data on their cell culture media, increasing their understanding and control over their overall manufacturing processes.

The biopharmaceutical industry is focusing even more on security of supply and consistent quality of the key technologies and materials used in their manufacturing processes.

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GE’s cell culture media production facilities in Singapore and Logan, Utah have been certified according to ISO 22301:2012, the international standard for business continuity management systems, which ensures that GE has a robust programme in place to maintain business continuity, even under the most unforeseen and challenging conditions. The Pasching, Austria facility is scheduled to be certified in 2018.