GE Healthcare has acquired Asymptote Limited, specialists in cryochain technology for sensitive cellular therapies. Asymptote’s integrated suite of cryochain hardware, software and consumables are designed to maintain the potency of cellular therapies enabling ultra-low temperature freezing during production, all the way to thawing at the clinic prior to administering to patients. The acquisition of Asymptote fills a critical gap in GE Healthcare’s end-to-end ecosystem of products and services for cell therapy production, and will be an important piece of the portfolio enabling the industrialization of these life-saving therapies.
Cellular therapies are rapidly changing the healthcare landscape by providing life-saving and potentially curative treatments for many of the world’s most challenging diseases, especially cancer. The cell therapy oncology market alone is expected to reach $30 billion by 2030 with almost 800 potentially life-changing therapies in clinical trials at the end of 2016 (1).
As the cell therapy market develops, demand for manufacturing and clinical delivery will increase. With this increase in demand, new Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) challenges emerge. The UK-based Asymptote makes pioneering technologies that challenge standard cell cryopreservation and thawing practices and support cGMP. The company’s innovative, digitally-enabled hardware products significantly lower the risk of contamination found in conventional processes and provide exceptional control and analytics of cryochain procedures.
Ger Brophy, General Manager of GE Healthcare’s Cell Therapy business said: “Asymptote’s high-quality offering takes us another step forward in our vision to industrialize cell therapy, and in providing reliable and high-quality services for our customers and patients around the world. We want to improve the access to cellular therapies and tap the great potential that they have in curing some of our most difficult diseases. Finding ambitious technologies and partners like Asymptote, we are one step closer to realizing that goal.”
John Morris, Founder and CEO, Asymptote Limited, said: “Asymptote is delighted to become part of GE Healthcare. Our vision, current portfolio and exciting pipeline of cryochain technology is a great fit with GE’s Cell Therapy division. Our innovative range of liquid nitrogen-free controlled rate freezers are already widely used in the cryopreservation of cellular based therapies. The acquisition gives us the opportunity to reach a larger audience through the local specialist GE Cell Therapy team, provides us with a strong platform for our product launches, and allows us to significantly scale up our product development.”
Asymptote’s VIA Freeze™ range delivers liquid nitrogen-free cryopreservation and, soon-to-be released, VIA Thaw™ series that thaws deeply frozen cells by a dry conduction (water-free) process. The company’s my.Cryochain software platform synchronizes with the VIA Freeze and VIA Thaw products to standardize freezing and thawing programs across multiple sites, thereby giving improved visibility of remote processes. This web-based platform supports cell therapy companies to scale their cryopreservation and thawing processes with ease.
During the past year, GE has announced significant investments in the field of cell therapy and regenerative medicine, including the acquisition of Biosafe SA, a supplier of integrated cell bioprocessing systems, Vitruvian Networks, a GE Ventures and Mayo Clinic collaboration, providing cloud-based software systems and manufacturing services for cell and gene therapies and BridGE[.]CCRM Cell Therapy Centre of Excellence, a US $31.5 million co-investment with the Canadian Government to promote new technologies for the production of cellular therapies in Toronto.
(1) Alliance for Regenerative Medicine 2016 Annual Data Report alliancerm.org/page/arm-2016-annual-report
Asymptote (asymptote.co.uk) combines exceptional research into the science of cell freezing with engineering expertise to create pioneering cryochain technology for advanced medicines. Our portfolio of innovative products preserve cell viability during cryogenic processing of cellular therapies their freezing, shipping and thawing to support our customers’ work to improve healthcare throughout the world.
About GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare (gehealthcare.com) provides transformational medical technologies and services to meet the demand for increased access, enhanced quality and more affordable healthcare around the world. GE works on things that matter - great people and technologies taking on tough challenges. From medical imaging, software & IT, patient monitoring and diagnostics to drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies and performance improvement solutions, GE Healthcare helps medical professionals deliver great healthcare to their patients.