When Martin Madaus, Ph.D., became president and CEO of Millipore (Mwww.millipore.com) in January 2005, he immediately began to transform the company into a global supplier of life science tools, technologies, and services. Millipore, previously known as a worldwide supplier of filtration products, has since broadened its scope to serve customers in the research, development, and production stages of the life science industry.
Millipore has made four strategic acquisitions to this end—NovAseptic, MicroSafe, Newport Biosystems, and Serologicals. Because of these transactions, “We have moved into several new areas, and it lets us simplify and combine product choices,” says Dr. Madaus.
Millipore, founded in 1954 and headquartered in Billerica, MA, has arranged its products, services, and industry expertise into seven core capabilities in order to clarify the arenas in which it can help customers. These seven core capabilities consist of: life sciences, drug discovery, sample prep, lab water, bioproduction, process development, and process monitoring. These new capabilities help pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients optimize their manufacturing productivity to ensure high-quality drugs. In addition, Millipore provides reagents, consumables, and disposables.
Services are an increasingly important part of Millipore’s business. Instead of customers spending time working out laboratory protocols around a particular device or antibody of interest, for instance, Millipore performs the applications work and returns validated protocols. Microbiological contract testing including assay development and testing for viruses and mycoplasma contamination in pharmaceutical manufacturing is available from Millipore’s MicroSafe Services unit.
For drug discovery scientists, Millipore’s newly acquired selectivity profiling services evaluate potential leads and guide medicinal chemistry to optimize the most promising compounds and avoid the costly development of nonspecific lead candidates, Dr. Madaus explains.
Millipore’s chromatography and filtration products have long been a mainstay in downstream purification processes. The acquisition of NovAseptic and Newport Biosystems expanded the company’s reach into upstream bioprocessing methods.
NovAseptic brought a range of aseptic processing applications and high-performance mixers, valves, and connectors to Millipore. Newport Biosystems contributed a suite of disposable technologies including single-use plastic containers, tubing, and assembly systems for collecting, storing, and transferring liquids in biopharmaceutical manufacturing.
“Over time, we will optimize the entire process, from the time a protein is expressed by a cell to the time it becomes a finished product,” Dr. Madaus says. Even a small change in protein concentration in the upstream feed during biopharmaceutical manufacturing has implications in the downstream filtration requirements. “By understanding both, we can create more value for customers,” he adds.
Discovering New Abilities
Upstream bioprocessing is not the only area that Millipore has expanded into. With the acquisition of Serologicals in July, 2006, Millipore gained a broad range of reagents and kits for protein identification, drug discovery, antibody development and manufacturing, molecular biology, and stem cell research. Before acquiring Serologicals, “we had a number of cell biology products that were quite good,” Dr. Madaus remarks, “but they were limited in scope.”
Now, Millipore is focusing on providing tools for entire workflows in cell biology, rather than just a few steps in a protocol.
In collaboration with Gen-Probe (www.gen-probe.com), Millipore is creating molecular probes for detecting bacterial contamination during biopharmaceutical production. Other projects include high-performance virus filtration systems and single-use filter cartridges that eliminate cleaning before reuse.
R&D Center Stage
In the summer of 2006, Millipore opened a facility in Bedford, MA, to advance biopharmaceutical R&D projects. The R&D Center brings together various disciplines including chromatography, filtration, disposables, and cell culture. Scientists at the Bedford R&D facility are integrating the company’s traditional devices with cell culture media to create kits and tools that work better for customers. In addition, Millipore is able to reproduce customers’ processes at scale. This ability allows for meaningful optimization solutions with less downtime and risk, according to Dr. Madaus.
In the past 28 months, Millipore’s acquisitions, internal development, and partnerships have substantially transformed the company into a major life science provider, Dr. Madaus reports. Since 2005, about 2,300 workers have been added, and operations in China and India have expanded.
“In the next few years,” Dr. Madaus predicts, “you’ll see more innovative life science products coming to market.” He also has plans to double the value of the company by 2009.