|The birth of a mAb: Two cell divisions shortly after a subclone|
|Hollow Fiber Bioreactors, utilized to produce high titer mAb.|
Vertical expansion therefore, is the growth of a business enterprise through the acquisition of companies that produce the intermediate goods needed by the business or help market and distribute its product. This type of vertical pipeline integration is another very common strategy employed by companies. When BD purchased Pharmingen, that's exactly what was going on. If you are making the reagents that will be used on your instruments, you can control the entire package and make sure everything fits together nicely. This also works in reverse too. I'll remind you of the acquisition of Guava (and later, Amnis) by Millipore, or Invitrogen purchasing Applied Biosystems (becoming Life Technologies) and getting the supply of hardware to complement their reagents. This is sort of how I see the "merger" of UCFlow and the Fitch Monoclonal Facility. We can leverage the expertise in reagent development and production from the Monoclonal Facility so that our users have affordable and efficient access to commonly used reagents and will therefore be able to do more experiments with their limited funding (cf. more recharge revenue). Hopefully the synergy of expert reagent production and state-of-the-art technology will create a positive feedback loop for both sub-cores.
So what can you expect in the future? Our main focus at the start will be an expansion of the current Hybridoma Bank. Right now, the facility can produce purified antibody from 21 hybridomas including such favorites as anti-CD4 (GK1.5), anti-CD8 (2.43), the FC blocking antibody 2.4G2, anti-CD3 (2C11), NK1.1, CD19, anti-GFP, and many more. If we can get the hybridomas for an antibody, we can add it to our list. The next step to this is creating a plan to quickly couple these antibodies to a wide range of fluorochromes on-demand. We've spent some time with the Lightning Link technology from Innova Biosciences and it looks promising. This system allows for coupling to a good range of colors in as little as 20 minutes. We're still exploring many options, so if you have a favorite setup, let us know. We're excited about the prospects for this new phase of growth in the facility and will keep you posted about new developments as they happen.