Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Advances BioProcessing Capabilities with Acquisition of MAST® Platform from Lonza, a Leading Automated Bioreactor Sampling System

The acquisition of the MAST® platform is another milestone to accelerate innovation in the Process Solutions business unit of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

05 Apr 2022 | Darmstadt, Germany
  • Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, to become first company to offer a fully integrated ecosystem for advanced process technologies
  • Brings biopharmaceutical industry closer to digitally enabled manufacturing facility of the future
  • MAST® Platform provides real-time process information, cuts process development time by half, improving efficiency and lowering costs

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, will advance its bioprocessing portfolio with the acquisition of the MAST® (Modular Automated Sampling Technology) platform from Lonza. The MAST® platform is an automated, aseptic bioreactor sampling system developed in Bend, Oregon, USA. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

“Today, biopharmaceutical companies are under immense pressure to get products to patients faster. The acquisition of the MAST® platform adds fully automated sampling to our bioprocessing portfolio,” said Andrew Bulpin, Head of Process Solutions, Life Science business sector at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. “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 MAST® platform moves us closer toward our vision of connected and continuous bioprocessing to increase speed and lower costs,” said Bulpin.

The MAST® platform enables the gathering of more frequent samples and collection of real-time data, including product attributes, in hours instead of weeks, compared to manual sampling. The average cell culture process can save more than 80 hours of labor generally required for sample collection, handling, and analysis. Additionally, one MAST® system unit can collect samples from up to 10 bioreactors and connect them to four primary analyzers.

Upon closing the deal, the MAST® platform will be part of the BioContinuum™ Platform of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany: It includes the Bio4C™ Software Suite, a first-of-its-kind ecosystem that combines process control, analytics, and plant-level automation for GMP manufacturing. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is the first life science business to converge advanced process technologies with software, automation, and analytics into one ecosystem. This moves the biopharmaceutical industry another step closer to the digitally enabled facility of the future.

“Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany’s established experience implementing real-world data into its projects will enable it to further unlock the potential of the MAST® platform that Lonza has worked diligently to develop. With this divestment, we remain focused on our broad Bioscience offering, providing our customers with the tools to develop, manufacture and test therapeutics from basic research to the final product release,” said Jean-Christophe Hyvert, President, Biologics and Cell & Gene, Lonza.

The acquisition of the MAST® platform is another milestone to accelerate innovation in the Process Solutions business unit of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, one of the company’s three growth engines (“Big 3”), through targeted smaller to medium-sized acquisitions with high impact. The deal follows the acquisitions of Exelead, a CDMO specializing in complex injectable formulations, including Lipid Nanoparticle (LNP) based drug delivery technology, in January and AmpTec, a CDMO, with expertise in PCR-based mRNA technology, in 2021.

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About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and electronics. Around 60,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2021, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of € 19.7 billion in 66 countries.

The company holds the global rights to the name and trademark “Merck” internationally. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Electronics in electronics. Since its founding in 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to the company’s technological and scientific advances. To this day, the founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company.

About Lonza

Lonza is the preferred global partner to the pharmaceutical, biotech and nutrition markets. We work to enable a healthier world by supporting our customers to deliver new and innovative medicines that help treat a wide range of diseases. We achieve this by combining technological insight with world-class manufacturing, scientific expertise and process excellence. Our unparalleled breadth of offerings enables our customers to commercialize their discoveries and innovations in the healthcare industry. 

Founded in 1897 in the Swiss Alps, today, Lonza operates across five continents. With approximately 16,000 employees (full-time equivalent), we comprise high-performing teams and individual talent that make a meaningful difference to our own business, as well as to the communities in which we operate. The company generated sales of CHF 5.4 billion with a CORE EBITDA of CHF 1.7 billion in Full-Year 2021. Find out more at www.lonza.com. 

Follow @Lonza on LinkedIn 

Follow @LonzaGroup on Twitter 

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