The WuXi acquisition of Apptec (posted last week) is continuing the trend of consolidation in the cell manufacturing sector. It is similar to Lonza’s (a Swiss company) purchase of Cambrex’s biologics division in 2006, and GE’s purchase of Wave Biotech in mid-2007. Lonza is currently the largest manufacturer of cells for therapy, and has process development and manufacturing relationships with many of today’s clinical-stage regenerative medicine companies. GE is making a big splash with a heavy marketing campaign for the Wave bioproduction system and states in the acquisition press release that “Wave Biotech’s single use bioreactors are increasingly being used to enable the manufacture of patient-specific cell and gene therapy products.” GE is no dummy when it comes to acquiring growth companies and it has increasingly moved to a service-based business in the last 10 years. Now that Stem Cells Inc. is planning to purchase Progenitor Cell Therapy, it looks like Cognate Bioservices is the last ‘major’ cell therapy manufacturer still on it’s own.
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