Germany’s Merck Takes Lonza’s MAST Platform

06.04.2022 - Germany’s Merck has acquired Lonza’s Modular Automated Sampling Technology (MAST) platform for an undisclosed sum. The Darmstadt-based chemicals, pharmaceuticals and life science group said the deal will advance its bioprocessing portfolio and complement two earlier acquisitions in this field.

The automated, aseptic bioreactor sampling system developed in Bend, Oregon, USA, is claimed to enable the gathering of more frequent samples and collection of real-time data, including product attributes, in hours instead of weeks, compared to manual sampling.

While the average cell culture process can save more than 80 hours of labor generally required for sample collection, handling, and analysis, Merck said one MAST system unit can collect samples from up to 10 bioreactors and connect them to four primary analyzers.

The new acquisition, which includes the Bio4C software suite, a first-of-its-kind ecosystem combining process control, analytics and plant-level automation for GMP manufacturing, will become part of Merck’s BioContinuum platform. Andrew Bulpin, head of the Process Solutions, Life Science business segment, said the platform adds fully automated sampling to its bioprocessing portfolio.

“This technology, coupled with the software to analyze and manage data, allows us to offer unique and integrated solutions to help customers optimize their bioprocesses. The MASTplatform moves us closer toward our vision of connected and continuous bioprocessing to increase speed and lower costs,” Bulpin added.

Jean-Christophe Hyvert, president, Biologics and Cell & Gene, at Basel, Switzerland-based Lonza, said Merck’s established experience implementing real-world data into its projects will enable the buyer to further unlock the potential of the platform.

For Merck, the deal with Lonza represents another milestone to accelerate innovation in its Process Solutions business unit, one of the company’s three growth engines. It follows the January 2022 acqusition of Exelead, a CDMO specializing in complex injectable formulations, and the purchase of AmpTec, a CDMO with expertise in PCR-based mRNA technology, in 2021.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist