Benchtop manufacturing gets smaller

MIT scientists manufacture therapeutic-grade proteins with a benchtop system

Publisher’s note: This story originally ran in the Nov. 15, 2018 issue of BioCentury Innovations, a comprehensive source of developments in translational research with knowledgeable perspectives on the key innovations, trends and opportunities in early drug development - from idea to IND. Sign up for a free trial to BioCentury Innovations.

MIT scientists continue to break new ground in benchtop manufacturing systems for biologics. Published in Nature Biotechnology last month, the latest advance from the institute centered on an automated, closed system capable of producing clinical-grade therapeutic proteins in three days.

Christopher Love, who led the project, says his Integrated Scalable Cyto-Technology (InSCyT) system brings the field closer to a vision of regionalized, small-footprint production.

“With some added containment and controlled space these systems we’ve built would let you establish small, efficient facilities,” Love told BioCentury. “You could consider manufacturing even at the level of a hospital or a pharmacy.”

Love, who is a professor of chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, thinks the system could be useful for responding to viral outbreaks and battlefield needs, where “fast, agile and flexible manufacturing is the key.” It could also be a good fit for a variety of personalized medicine applications, or to improve the efficiency of process development.

“For a biopharma, this opens up opportunities to more rapidly test products during discovery all the way to the other end, to make the right-sized batch for a rare disease or personalized medicine,” said Love.

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