The MAST platform is designed to advance bioprocessing capabilities to help drug manufacturing become more efficient and cost-effective


The MAST platform is an automated, aseptic bioreactor sampling system. (Credit: MilliporeSigma)

Pharma major Merck’s MilliporeSigma has agreed to acquire Modular Automated Sampling Technology (MAST) platform, an automated, aseptic bioreactor sampling system, from Swiss manufacturing group Lonza.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

MilliporeSigma is the US and Canada life science business of the pharma major.

The MAST platform is designed to advance bioprocessing capabilities for making drug manufacturing more efficient and cost-effective.

Developed in Bend, Oregon, the platform helps in gathering more frequent samples and real-time data collection. Product attributes and other types of data are claimed to be collected by the system in hours rather than weeks, compared to manual sampling.

According to MilliporeSigma, the average cell culture process can save over 80 hours of labour that is needed generally for collection of samples and their handling and analysis. In addition to that, one MAST platform unit could collect samples from up to 10 bioreactors and link them to four primary analysers.

Merck Life Science business sector process solutions head Andrew Bulpin said: “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.

“This technology, coupled with the software to analyse and manage data, allows us to offer unique and integrated solutions to help customers optimise their bioprocesses. The MAST platform moves us closer toward our vision of connected and continuous bioprocessing to increase speed and lower costs.”

After closing of the deal, the MAST platform will become a part of MilliporeSigma’s BioContinuum platform.

BioContinuum includes the Bio4C Software Suite, an ecosystem that clubs together process control, plant-level automation, and analytics for GMP manufacturing.

Lonza biologics and cell and gene president Jean-Christophe Hyvert said: “The Life Science business sector’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.”

In September 2021, Merck announced an investment of more than €3bn in innovation and capacities of its electronics business over the next four years.