Milestone Bioprocess Technology

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Milestones in Bioprocess Technology A Trendsetter in Bioprocess Technology

Editor: Anke Geipel-Kern

Sartorius has always had an intuitive understanding of the needs of the industry. Whether through in-house developments or intelligent acquisitions and external cooperations, the company from Göttingen has made its mark on the laboratory technology industry and bioprocess engineering and shapes the industries it works in through innovative technologies.

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Discover the pioneers and trendsetters in the process industry with PROCESS.
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Next year Sartorius will be celebrating its 150th anniversary, and ever since the company was first founded it has had a lasting impact on laboratory and bioprocess engineering. In recent decades the company has gained access to key technologies through its own research and development work, but successively it has also supplemented this with clever cooperations and acquisitions to gradually expand its portfolio step by step.

Selected Milestones in the History of Bioprocess Technology:

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The foundations for the company’s market success in bioprocess engineering were already laid by Sartorius in 1927, when the company founded the membrane filtration specialist Membranfiltergesellschaft mbH together with Chemistry Nobel Prize winner Richard Zsigmondy. The membranes developed by Zsigmondy were the basis for the development of membrane filtration systems — and for the modern bioprocess business of Sartorius. In the 1980s and 1990s, the company concentrated increasingly on the biopharmaceutical industry and widened its portfolio particularly in the upstream sector. Since the acquisition of B. Braun Biotech International Melsungen, which was the leading manufacturer of fermenters at the time, Sartorius has also been able to offer cell cultivation, which is the key element to any biotech production facility.

The biotechnology division of the group of companies has often demonstrated its special nose for trends in the past. Even in the early days, the company recognized the significance of single-use technology and drove this area forward with acquisitions and in-house developments. The highlight came no doubt in 2007, when Sartorius acquired a majority shareholding in bioprocess engineering company Stedim Biosystems. The disposables pioneer was and still is the market leader in the field of disposable bag technologies. The merger of the two market leaders resulted in a global bioprocess technology champion that is unrivaled anywhere in the world. The French-German success story still inspires customers, employees and shareholders today — the group division has grown in the past decade by no less than 13 % year by year, and the share price has gone up by more than a factor of ten.

The company made a clever move in 2013 to acquire the small-volume, multi-parallel disposable bioreactors from UK company TAP Biosystems Group, which are already used in the early phases of process development, where they accelerate analyses. With Umetrics, a global leader and specialist in data analysis joined Sartorius in 2017 — another smart move, as the modeling and optimization of biopharmaceutical development and production processes is becoming increasingly more important in bioprocess technology. And, finally, in 2018 a cooperation agreement with Siemens sealed the collaboration between the two parties in the field of automation. In future, the product portfolio of Sartorius Stedim Biotech is set to run on globally standardized automation platforms.

Chief executive Dr. Joachim Kreuzburg sees the extensive portfolio across the entire process chain as a key competitive advantage of bioprocess technology. With integrated solutions for fermentation, filtration, reprocessing, media storage and transport as well as for laboratories, Sartorius Stedim Biotech helps its customers to develop and manufacture biotech drugs safely, quickly and cost-effectively. The success and growth of the division have proved him right.

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