Scots pair partner on device to develop medicines and reduce antibiotic resistance
TWO independent Scottish companies have come together to speed up the development of medicines, vaccines, and key ingredients for reducing antibiotic resistance.
Dundee-based life sciences firm Cellexus has partnered with Livingston-based electronics manufacturing services (EMS) company CB Technology who will produce a precision electronic controller unit for Cellexus’ CellMaker bioreactor.
The bioreactor can be used by scientists to produce cells in their laboratories for use in experiments to develop new medicines and vaccines.
The CellMaker can also be used to make bacteriophages, types of viruses that infect bacteria, which can be used as an alternative to antibiotics in the farming industry.
Reducing the amount of antibiotics given to animals and fish will help to tackle the growing problem of bacterial infections that have become resistant to antibiotics.
Cellexus’ CellMaker bioreactor has a small footprint in the laboratory, where space is often at a premium.
Growing cells or bacteriophages takes place inside single-use bags in the machine, which means researchers can swap between experiments quickly without having to clean the device, saving time and speeding up their work.
The device also uses “airlift” technology, which bubbles gases up through the bags to stir the ingredients for creating cells, rather than using mechanical stirred bioreactors that then need to be cleaned with expensive chemicals.
The airlift technology allows researchers to produce higher quantities of cells or bacteriophages from each batch, improving their yield and efficiency.
John Cameron, managing director at CB Technology, said: “Scotland has a proud history of leading the world in science and technology and I’m excited that CB Technology has engaged with Cellexus and is continuing that tradition.
“Devices like the CellMaker bioreactor give scientists the key tools that they need to solve some of the biggest problems facing humanity, from developing new medicines and vaccines through to producing bacteriophages as alternatives to antibiotics in the food industry.
“Working with cutting-edge life sciences companies like Cellexus is an important and growing part of CB Technology’s business.”
Gavin Hands, chief executive at Cellexus, added: “We prefer to work with local companies whenever possible, and so having CB Technology within an hour’s drive of our laboratory made a huge difference while we were developing the manufacturing process of the CellMaker bioreactor.
“We were very impressed with their portfolio of work and their capabilities, especially their expertise in producing complex high reliability system assemblies, which was key in selecting them to build the controller for us.
“I was also very impressed with the way CB Technology managed the project launch, taking the lead through structured workshops and regular action tracker reviews to ensure they were ready to launch the first product builds.
“Our two companies were able to share the lessons we had learned from our processes and procedures with each other, which has ultimately made the CellMaker even better and has brought benefits for the scientists who will use it.”