Millipore, Novo strengthen insulin pact

By Anna Lewcock

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Insulin Yeast Millipore

Danish diabetes care specialist Novo Nordisk has expanded an
agreement with biotech supplier Millipore, granting exclusive,
long-term distribution rights to the company's insulin
products for cell culture applications.

Millipore is the happy beneficiary of the expanded agreement, gaining extended exclusive worldwide rights to supply Novo's recombinant human insulin to the biopharmaceutical market. The contract was previously held by biopharmaceutical additives specialist Celliance, a subsidiary of Serologicals, acquired by Millipore last year. The relationship between Novo and Celliance had been in place 10 years, but was based on short-term supply agreements for recombinant human insulin that were subject to regular renewals. This revamped contract between Celliance' new owner Millipore and Novo has restructured the partnership into a long-term supply agreement, providing a stable source of the media supplement for biopharmaceutical manufacturers. The new multi-year agreement will remain in place as long as Millipore keeps up a certain level of demand for Novo's product - a condition which shouldn't be too hard to comply with given the major pharmaceutical companies that make up Millipore's client list and the growing interest in biopharmaceutical drugs. Recombinant human insulin is a key supplement in cell culture media used widely in biomanufacturing to improve the ability of cells to efficiently produce the desired proteins. Millipore claims pole position in the supply of the bioprocess product to the biotech industry, along with its catalogue of a number of other supplements and growth factors for cell culture media. Novo's recombinant human insulin, branded Incelligent by Millipore, is the world's leading insulin product used in biologics manufacture, according to the company, and is available in standard grade (Incelligent SG) and animal free (Incelligent AF) formulations. The Incelligent insulin is a biosynthetic white powder, produced by recombinant expression in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae​) containing a synthetic gene insert that codes for a human insulin precursor. Both the standard grade and animal derivative-free formulations are available in packages from 1g to 1kg, and have a shelf life of 60 months from the date of manufacture. The two versions of the insulin media supplement are manufactured at separate production facilities and as such offer superior supply chain security, according to the two companies. The two Novo sites used for the insulin manufacture are located in the Danish towns of Hillerød and Kalundborg, where the bulk of the material is produced. This double manufacturing location is billed as a key advantage that provides protection of insulin supplies in a way that can only be delivered by Novo Nordisk as the world's top insulin manufacturer. According to Jesper Høiland, head of international operations at Novo Nordisk, the company has spent billions investing in its facilities and as such has established itself as by far the largest supplier of these insulin products to the industry. "It's a very rapidly growing, promising and prosperous business,"​ Høiland told in-PharmaTechnologist.com. "And customers will benefit from the added security of the long-term agreement with Millipore."

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