BAC’s recent deal with GE Healthcare Life Science that added a BAC bioprocess affinity resin to GE’s line of custom-designed media actually illustrates a broader strategy for BAC, its CEO Laurens Sierkstra told me. The FactorVII/ FactorVIIa resin will be marketed under the name VIISelect and represents the latest entrant to a series of chromatography media developed for the purification of blood coagulants by BAC, which is based in The Netherlands.
“NovoSeven® RT (Novo Nordisk’s coagulation Factor VIIa recombinant) will be going off patent soon, thus creating a biosimilar opportunity,” said Sierkstra. “We are also working on Factor VIII, FSH, insulin, hGH, and GCSF for the next major set of biosimilars. Our job is to develop specific products for purifying biopharmaceuticals, be they the original drugs or biosimilars.”
BAC is also setting its sights on a commercial opportunity beyond the bioprocess arena. The company has been collaborating with Life Technologies on products for the research market. “They will sell our ligands for HPLC, QA/QC, PAT, and quality-by-design applications. Our ligands will be included in the prepacked columns for HPLC that Life Technologies will be launching shortly.”
In addition, noted Sierkstra, BAC is manufacturing ligands conjugated with biotin for ELISA analysis in high-throughput quantification applications.
Turning to the current state of the biotech market Sierkstra said that while the need for standard mAbs will remain strong, he has observed a growing focus on antibody fragments and on bispecific and trispecific antibodies. The economic driver here, he explained, is that bispecifics can handle two different target molecules, which some people believe will constitute the next wave of antibody-like products.
“Antibody fragments are a lot smaller than antibodies” said Sierkstra. “So if you do not need the Fc functionality present in regular antibodies, you can remove it and cut down on the cost of goods.”
Over the next few months, Sierkstra pointed out that BAC expects to launch 30–40 new products for protein purification of biosimilars, ligand conjugates, and HPLC columns for Life Technologies.