Paul Mueller will take over manufacture of stainless steel biopharmaceutical production systems for Sarorius Stedim, with the agreement announced this morning covering the US, Canada, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Effective immediately, the company will be Sartorius Stedim's exclusive North American partner and supplier of stainless steel systems such as fermentors, bioreactors, freeze-thaw systems, crossflow and other filtration systems. As part of the move to link with Paul Mueller, Sartorius Stedim has announced plans to shut down its existing production facility for stainless steel systems in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The site is relatively new, with the 85,000 sq. ft facility having only opened in October 2004. The plant employed 130 staff when it opened, with the addition of the Pennsylvania site setting Sartorius up as the only fermenter manufacturer in the world to have its own production facilities in the three key markets of North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Sartorius merged with French firm Stedim Biosystems just under a year ago, with the combined firm now deciding to focus on its 'customer-specific application engineering' and installation and servicing of its stainless steel systems. These activities will take place at the company's site in Springfield, Missouri, in close proximity to the Paul Mueller operations. The company will continue to manufacture processing systems for its European and Asian customers at its facilities in Germany and India. "Our customers need innovative disposable systems and classic stainless steel systems as well as combinations of both; in other words, hybrid systems," said Joachim Kreuzberg, Sartorius Stedim CEO. "As of now, we can offer both in an even better way with regard to applications expertise, technology and engineering of stainless steel systems." Paul Mueller operates automated fabrication and machining facilities with approximately one million square feet of manufacturing space dedicated to stainless steel systems for a variety of industries. "This agreement provides access to market segments in which we are not currently participating, and advances both companies' desire to provide a complete 'one-stop' process solution capability to the marketplace," said Matt Detelich, Paul Mueller Company CEO.