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Merck Advances BioProcessing Capabilities with Acquisition of MAST® Platform from Lonza, a Leading Automated Bioreactor Sampling System

publication date: May 3, 2022
 | 
author/source: Merck

merck-advances-bioprocessing-capabilities-acquisition

MAST® Platform provides real-time process information, cuts process development time by half, improving efficiency and lowering costs

Merck, a leading science and technology company, will advance its bioprocessing portfolio with the acquisition of the MAST® (Modular Automated Sampling Technology) platform from Lonza. The MAST® platform is an automated, aseptic bioreactor sampling system developed in Bend, Oregon, USA. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

“Today, biopharmaceutical companies are under immense pressure to get products to patients faster. The acquisition of the MAST® platform adds fully automated sampling to our bioprocessing portfolio,” said Andrew Bulpin, Head of Process Solutions, Life Science business sector at Merck. “This technology, coupled with the software to analyze and manage data, allows us to offer unique and integrated solutions to help customers optimize their bioprocesses. The MAST® platform moves us closer toward our vision of connected and continuous bioprocessing to increase speed and lower costs,” said Bulpin.

The MAST® platform enables the gathering of more frequent samples and collection of real-time data, including product attributes, in hours instead of weeks, compared to manual sampling. The average cell culture process can save more than 80 hours of labor generally required for sample collection, handling, and analysis. Additionally, one MAST® system unit can collect samples from up to 10 bioreactors and connect them to four primary analyzers.

Upon closing the deal, the MAST® platform will be part of Merck’s BioContinuum™ Platform: It includes the Bio4C™ Software Suite, a first-of-its-kind ecosystem that combines process control, analytics, and plant-level automation for GMP manufacturing. Merck is the first life science business to converge advanced process technologies with software, automation, and analytics into one ecosystem. This moves the biopharmaceutical industry another step closer to the digitally enabled facility of the future.

“Merck’s established experience implementing real-world data into its projects will enable it to further unlock the potential of the MAST®platform that Lonza has worked diligently to develop. With this divestment, we remain focused on our broad Bioscience offering, providing our customers with the tools to develop, manufacture and test therapeutics from basic research to the final product release,” said Jean-Christophe Hyvert, President, Biologics and Cell & Gene, Lonza.

The acquisition of the MAST® platform is another milestone to accelerate innovation in Merck’s Process Solutions business unit, one of the company’s three growth engines (“Big 3”), through targeted smaller to medium-sized acquisitions with high impact. The deal follows the acquisitions of Exelead, a CDMO specializing in complex injectable formulations, including Lipid Nanoparticle (LNP) based drug delivery technology, in January and AmpTec, a CDMO, with expertise in PCR-based mRNA technology, in 2021.

 

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