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Valitacell, Solentim, and Microcoat were awarded EUR 3.5 million (US$4 million) to produce an integrated platform to deposit, culture, profile, and select optimal cells for biologic drug manufacturing.
Solentim, a developer of commercial cell-line development instruments based in the United Kingdom, and Valitacell, an Irish biotechnology company focused on manufacturing of biotherapeutics, announced on March 27, 2019 that they have received a total of EUR 3.5 million (US$4 million) in funding to produce an integrated platform to deposit, culture, profile, and select optimal cells for the manufacture of biologic drugs.
Over the next 24 months, Valitacell’s platform technology, Valita PIX, along with Solentim’s proprietary instrumentation, will be used to create a system that enables the automation of data-driven analysis and selection of top clones during the biologic-drug manufacturing process. The new platform technology consists of a hardware component that enables precision sample preparation, on-board imaging, and sample tracking of clones and cell samples. When combined with a novel plate consumable, this technology is expected to improve ranking and selection of top clones for manufacturing. Selecting clones earlier will speed time to market, creating cost savings, and ultimately accelerating access for patients to new treatments, according to Solentim.
The funding consists of EUR 2.5 million (approximately US$3 million) under the H2020 Fast Track to Innovation initiative, part of the European Union Horizon 2020 program, and a further EUR 1 million (approximately US$1 million) from other unclosed sources.
Building on the existing partnership between Valitacell and Solentim announced in February 2019, Microcoat Biotechnologies-a biotech company based near in Munich, Germany, specializing in diagnostic testing, kit manufacturing, and coating of microplates and other test formats-has joined the consortium to support manufacturing capability and scale.
“Developing cell lines and protocols for the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals is an extremely lengthy process and hasn’t changed in 10 years,” said Dr. Jerry Clifford, Valitacell COO, in a company press release. “By working in partnership with Microcoat and Solentim, we are able to utilize our analytical solution, Valita PIX, to enhance scalability and enable deep cell insights in the biomanufacturing process. This will transform and simplify an extremely complex process.”
“We are delighted to be working with Valitacell on this exciting collaboration. Valitacell’s novel assay plate technology enables determination of clone productivity in the cloning plates themselves,” commented Dr. Ian Taylor, chief commercial officer, Solentim, in the release. “Previously, the removal of precious sample volume from the cloning plates for off-line analytics has largely been prohibitive. This novel technology negates the need to remove samples and, uniquely, facilitates an in-line measurement.”