The added capabilities of the OligoPilot 400 synthesizer build on Dowpharma's specialties in growing application areas such as RNA interference (RNAi). The synthesizer is suitable in early toxicology or Phase I or II clinical trials, which need quantities in the 100-gram range.
"We can offer our customers this new capability that will make their journey through clinical trials more efficient, and minimise potential scale-up or transition risks," said Nick Hyde, business director, Dowpharma.
"This addition is another step in our investment in nucleic acid medicines, an area that we believe has significant long-term potential."
Hyde added that the compatibility between this synthesizer and other Dowpharma assets demonstrates the company's ability to scale up to mid-scale and commercial-scale production as customers require larger quantities of their drug product.
Dowpharma, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, provides contract-manufacturing services, which span lab- to commercial-scale, with intermediate capabilities in between.
On a strategic level, the addition of the oligonucleotide synthesizer could be seen as the company's attempts to develop its biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing business by building on new developments in protein and peptide expression technologies.
Dowpharma spoke of these plans as around this time last year the company announced plans to close its biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing facility in Smithfield, Rhode Island.
Speaking at the time, Hyde said: "The decision to close the Smithfield facility, formerly owned by Collaborative BioAlliance (CBA), is driven by changes in the biotech industry specifically around mammalian cell culture technology."
"One of the reasons for our decision to purchase CBA in 2000 was a forecast of additional mammalian cell culture capacity needed to supply the market. Market conditions for this technology have not evolved to the point the industry anticipated just a few years ago."