The deal will see GE Healthcare incorporate Zenith Technologies’ methodologies, systems and libraries into its single-use FlexFactory manufacturing platform and its KUBio modular manufacturing facilities, helping to bring automated processes to drugmakers.
While Zenith does not provide the technology itself, the firm “brings its extensive life science expertise to the delivery and support of such projects for major pharmaceutical clients,” said Trevor Marshall, director of enterprise systems integration.
“Due to regulatory compliance and data integrity, automation systems are now seen as the mechanism for capturing and controlling all aspects for the production of pharmaceuticals,” he told Biopharma-Reporter, adding that partnering with GE will “ensure that the demand in the market for GE’s full lifecycle Flexfactory and Kubio products can be met.”
Automation could reduce the costs and increase the speed of manufacturing biologics and cell therapies, but according to delegates at a recent industry conference a shift to this sort of production needs to come from the vendors themselves.
Already GE has begun to service this need, teaming up with Emerson Process Management last November in order to drive efficiency within its bioprocessing equipment.
Meanwhile, other companies have started to invest in automated technologies across the upstream and the downstream. Lonza, for example, has installed an automated Laboratory Execution System at its QC labs in the US and Switzerland.
And last month Big Biopharma GSK teamed up with German tech firm Miltenyi Biotec to automate its CAR T-Cell therapeutics’ manufacturing platform.