Under the terms of the agreement, Sartorius will use Crucell's key technology to evaluate monoclonal antibodies (mAb) produced using PER.C6 cells for calibrating and testing equipment products used in the manufacture and purification of recombinant mAbs. DSM has co-exclusive rights, along with Crucell, to license the high-producing PER.C6 human cell line as a production platform for recombinant proteins and mAbs. The companies also agreed to expand their collaboration by sharing technology and data on antibody production. "PER C6 is a very upcoming alternative to mammalian cell culture and it is becoming very popular," Reinhard Vogt, managing director of Sartorius Biotech, told BioPharma-Reporter.com. The PER C6 technology uses cell culture for the large-scale production of recombinant proteins and mAbs, as well as vaccines. The strengths of PER C6 lie in its safety profile, scalability and productivity under serum-free culture conditions. This cell culture process has the potential to reduce from four weeks to two or three weeks the start-up time for manufacturing and could result in a more predictable manufacturing process. Once the technology is calibrated and tested with its equipment, Sartorius is planning to develop an efficient downstream process with Crucell based on the use of disposable technology. With disposable technologies becoming increasingly popular alternatives to fixed stainless steel equipment and components, the German firm has made efforts to position itself strategically in this burgeoning market. Sartorius' biotechnology division, which generated sales of €271m last year, was mainly boosted by the firm's decision to switch from reusable stainless steel products to plastic disposables. "There is a current tendency in the biotech industry for disposable technology and we are seeing a paradigm shift towards single use equipment," said Vogt. In particular, the high cost of downstream processing means there is significant potential for savings from improved processes, and single use technologies and equipment are increasingly seen as a way to tackle the cost and time issues. "We are developing an efficient downstream process with Crucell based on the use of disposable technology," said Vogt. "There are high benefits for both companies and it will be easier for Crucell to license out the technology." In addition, he added, there are also benefits for customers who will get a cell line that produces optimal yield. He added that the deal was a continuous one with neither company defining a strict time limit. The agreement is also non exclusive as it is more directed towards process development, explained Vogt. "It makes perfect sense for us to have a preferred partnership rather than an exclusive licensing agreement, especially to stay ahead of competition," he said. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.