The Dish’s Weekly Biotechnology News Wrap Up – March 19, 2021

This week’s headlines include: U.S. administers 113 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines – CDC, PhaseBio and BioVectra Ink Commercial Scale Supply Deal, Better Covid Vaccines Are Coming, WHO’s Chief Scientist Says, Factbox: Companies developing mRNA treatments and vaccines, Swiss drugs regulator grants Lonza license for Moderna vaccine ingredients, and Abbott announces pandemic defense coalition.


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Covid-19 Resources:

As the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has spread around the world, scientists, doctors, clinicians and biopharmaceutical companies are working hard to find effective therapies for COVID-19 disease. Approved and investigational medications with a spectrum of activities are being examined as to whether they can be repurposed for COVID-19 and vaccines are being researched and tested for rapid delivery. Due to the magnitude of the effort by all involved, it is difficult to keep track of the numerous therapeutic, discovery and manufacturing related resources available.

We have created this page to house articles that Cell Culture Dish publishes related to Covid-19 and links to resources from suppliers who have gathered information, technologies and techniques that could be helpful for those engaged in Covid-19 related research and manufacturing. Covid-19 Resources


BioProcess International US West Conference & Exhibition

Cell Culture Dish Readers can get a Free Virtual Exhibition Visitor Pass to BPI West 2021 | March 29-31, 2021

Learn about today’s novel bioprocessing technologies designed to accelerate speed to market for your biologics by attending the upcoming BioProcess International US West Conference & Exhibition, delivered in a 100% virtual format on March 29-31, 2021. Register for your free virtual exhibition visitor pass to access 30+ virtual exhibits, 50+ on-demand technology workshop presentations and live networking sessions with solution providers working across the entire spectrum of biopharmaceutical development and production.

Book your free virtual exhibition visitor pass. –


BioProcess International COVID-19 Therapeutic Development & Production

Access today’s novel science and technologies needed for accelerating the development and production of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics by attending the upcoming BioProcess International COVID-19 Therapeutic Development & Production event, delivered in a 100% virtual format on April 27-28, 2021.  Readers of Cell Culture Dish can save an extra 10% when you register with VIP code P21BPIWVDISH online at


In Case You Missed It, Recent Articles on Cell Culture Dish and Downstream Column:


Cell Culture Dish – Top 25 Articles of 2020

Don’t miss our top articles of 2020! I have compiled a list of our 25 most popular articles for 2020 in alphabetical order…

Understanding Cell Culture Media

Cell culture media greatly impacts biomanufacturing in both positive and negative ways. Variability in cell culture media and associated raw materials can create variation in the upstream manufacturing process, as well as impacting final product quality. New analytical technologies have made it possible to have a better understanding of what contributes to cell culture media variability and as a result it is incumbent on cell culture media suppliers to implement control processes and a robust quality assurance program…

The Art and Science of Cell Food: How smart media formulations drive performance

The old adage ‘you are what you eat’ could equally be said for cell culture, because the quality of what you put into your bioreactor dictates the quality of what comes out. Several major challenges with cell culture media and processes must be overcome to unlock the full potential for successful discovery and efficient production of biopharmaceuticals. Many of these challenges are now being addressed through a unique and innovative portfolio of dipeptides that boost performance...

Sterile Connections – A Critical Part of Fluid Transfer in Viral Vaccine Production

Being able to move fluid aseptically using sterile connections is a critical part of the viral vaccine production process. Sterile connections are responsible for how fluid is transferred from one technology to another unit operation. From upstream to downstream and into final formulation and fill, there are multiple points of fluid transfer in vaccine production. The points of transfer must be sterile and failsafe to avoid lost batches due to contamination and ultimately to ensure patient safety. Too often, creating these sterile connections and processes can take considerable time and resources. One challenge is that many available connectors are difficult to use and thus there is an increased risk of failure…

Enhancement of transient transfection with serum-free and blood-free transferrin

Methods to enhance transient transfection of adherent cells have identified many different ligands that improve plasmid uptake into cells. Of these ligands, serum-derived transferrin is well-known to improve transfection efficiency of adherent cells. However, to date, a serum-free and blood-free transferrin has not been tested for improvements to transfection efficiency. We have thus created a protocol for the improvement of transfection efficiency and viral titer without the need for blood-derived transferrin. Excess transferrin does not negatively impact transfection, and the incorporation of a blood- and serum-free, recombinant human transferrin supports high transfection efficiency and viral titer in a chemically defined, blood-free medium…

The Down Stream Column

The BioContinuum™ Buffer Delivery Platform Provides Solutions to Costly Buffer Management Pain Points

Buffer management is a significant logistical challenge in biomanufacturing and is the cause of many bottlenecks. While it is an essential function in downstream processing, it does not provide added value commensurate with the level of footprint, labor and equipment investment required…

Top Downstream Process Articles of 2020

Don’t miss our top articles on downstream processing for 2020! I have compiled a list of our most popular articles from 2020 in alphabetical order…

Downstream Manufacturing of Gene Therapy Vectors

The downstream manufacturing process takes the output from upstream operations and transforms it through multiple steps into a viable drug product ready for administration to patients. The major challenge in downstream processing is to maximize yield while meeting both product and impurity specifications. Viral vectors destined for clinical use must comply with regulatory standards for product safety and potency and this means contaminants must be removed and impurities controlled…

Addressing Downstream Throughput Bottlenecks with Rapid Cycling Protein A Based Fiber Chromatography

Faster process times and increased flexibility in manufacturing continue to be key drivers in both upstream and downstream processing. New technologies are needed to address bottlenecks and to infuse more flexibility in process development and manufacturing. For downstream, chromatography purification can be a resource intensive step and a source of bottlenecks due to decreased throughput. While improvements in Protein A chromatography resins, such as high capacity resins, provide much better capacity, low flow rates are still a potential source of slow downs. One alternative solution for addressing areas where increased throughput and flexibility is required is the use of Fiber based chromatography…


“U.S. administers 113 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines – CDC,” Reuters

The United States has administered 113,037,627 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Wednesday morning and distributed 147,590,615 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The tally is for Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines as of 6:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday, the agency said…

“PhaseBio and BioVectra Ink Commercial Scale Supply Deal,” Genetic Engineering News

PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals and BioVectra, a (CDMO), signed a commercial scale supply agreement for the production of bentracimab, PhaseBio’s lead product candidate currently in a global Phase III clinical trial. Bentracimab is a human monoclonal antibody fragment that in earlier clinical trials has shown immediate and sustained reversal of the antiplatelet effects of Brilinta® (ticagrelor)…

“Better Covid Vaccines Are Coming, WHO’s Chief Scientist Says,” Bloomberg

New Covid-19 vaccines, including ones that don’t require needles and can be stored at room temperature, may be ready for use later this year or next year, the World Health Organization’s top scientist said. Six-to-eight new immunizations may complete clinical studies and undergo regulatory review by the end of the year, Soumya Swaminathan, the Geneva-based agency’s chief scientist, said in an interview Saturday…

“Factbox: Companies developing mRNA treatments and vaccines,” Reuters

The United States has cleared the use of vaccines using messenger RNA (mRNA) to create an immune response from Moderna Inc and partners BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc, boosting confidence in the novel technology…

“Swiss drugs regulator grants Lonza license for Moderna vaccine ingredients,” Reuters

Lonza has gotten a key licence from Switzerland to produce active ingredients for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, the country’s drug regulator Swissmedic said on Monday. “The licence was issued last week following a successful inspection of the production plant in Visp. At this newly approved site Lonza can manufacture, on behalf of Moderna, active substances for COVID-19 vaccines,” Swissmedic said in a statement…

“Abbott announces pandemic defense coalition,” MassDevice

Abbott (NYSE:ABT) announced today that it formed the Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition for future pandemic threats. The first-of-its-kind global scientific and public health partnership is dedicated to the early detection of and rapid response to future pandemic threats through the connection of global centers of excellence in laboratory testing, genetic sequencing and public health research, according to a news release…

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