Merck, through its US and Canada life science business MilliporeSigma, has introduced the VirusExpress 293 Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) production platform.

With the new platform, Merck becomes one of the first CDMOs to provide full viral vector manufacturing services, including AAV, Lentiviral, CDMO, CTO, and process development.

The new platform will enable biopharmaceutical companies to speed up their clinical manufacturing while reducing the time and costs for process development, said Merck.

Merck life science services head Dirk Lange said: “Cell and gene therapies offer the potential for curative treatments and can be commercialised in half the time compared to traditional therapies.

“By increasing dose yields and dramatically reducing process development time, our VirusExpress 293 AAV Production Platform will accelerate manufacturing of these therapies, ultimately delivering lifesaving treatments to patients faster.”

The new VirusExpress 293 AAV platform extends the company’s existing VirusExpress offering, which reduces up to 40% process development time.

Merck said that its VirusExpress platforms provide a simplified upstream workflow for the production of AAV and Lentivirus, including their management, adjustment and scaling.

In addition to advancing process development, the new product manufacturing platforms would also facilitate larger batch yields to produce more patient doses.

The chemically defined cell culture media is said to address the safety, regulatory and supply chain concerns related to animal- and human-derived materials.

In addition, its suspension culture format can be scalable for large manufacturing processes, and are also less labour-intensive, said Merck.

Furthermore, the company said its life science business offers flexible licensing options for biopharmaceutical companies to manufacture vectors.

The companies can use Merck’s contract manufacturing capabilities and expertise, along with access to both the upstream and downstream templates.

MilliporeSigma is focused on scientific discovery, biomanufacturing and testing services, with more than 26,000 employees, and 55 manufacturing and testing sites worldwide.

In October last year, the company opened its second manufacturing facility in Carlsbad, California, more than doubling its existing production capacity.