Time-to-clinic tools

GE Healthcare and Tecan will team up to streamline process development.

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LONDON—GE Healthcare has entered into a marketing collaboration with Tecan, a supplier of laboratory instruments and solutions, in an effort to bring increased quality and efficiency to process development. The collaboration between the suppliers, announced in March, will focus on high-throughout screening of protein purification conditions.

According to Allan Simpson, director of strategic alliances for GE Healthcare Life Sciences Biotechnologies, this is a non-exclusive arrangement with GE Healthcare financing any chemistry/format developments and Tecan any hardware/software developments.

The agreement will enable process developers to implement specifically-designed protocols and accessories for GE Healthcare's PreDictor 96-well plates on Tecan Freedom EVO workstations. Automation will reduce hands-on time required for screening of process conditions, freeing up time for scientists to focus on their core tasks and therefore helping to reduce overall time-to-clinic.

According to Simpson, automated, parallel screening allows the process developer to quickly gain a greater overall understanding of the process. As a result, informed decisions can be made for process optimization, substantially shortening time-to-clinic. The combination of the technologies shortens time spent on process development while also allowing the investigation of a much larger experimental space, resulting in greater understanding of the process, Simpson says.

"In the past, scientists have had to identify the hardware and chemistry to fit their needs from separate companies," he says. "They would come to GE Healthcare for chemistry and applications and Tecan for hardware and software programming. Our collaboration provides an integrated approach that closes the gap between the hardware and chemistry resulting in a single application."

The unique solution for the screening of process conditions also provides process developers with quality, efficiency and reliability in downstream process development, adds Simpson.

Eric Willimann, market manager of protein science at Tecan, says the collaboration forms a "powerful" solution for process development.
"The combination of GE's chemistry and Tecan's hardware will provide our customers with a rapid and efficient method of screening process parameters, with minimal hands-on time," says Willimann.

The companies aren't strangers. The two paired up in late 2007 to simplify high-throughput protein purification by increasing the speed and reliability of expression screening programs.

"Tecan provides us with a Freedom EVO workstation to develop automated protocols for protein expression screening," Simpson adds. "Also, both companies have jointly presented material at trade shows and have involved their customers in seminars and workshops showcasing each other's products."

Simpson also points out the collaboration is unique because the major players are targeting a defined customer problem in process development and have come up with "best-in-class" solutions.

"Process development, is such an important area for the biopharm industry that nothing should be left to chance," he says.

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