Manufacturing of cells and tissues as end products is a complex process involving multiple steps and unknowns and presenting challenges that are distinct from the production of pharmaceutical products. Currently, cell processing for cell therapies is characterized by high costs and long processing time, due to over-reliance on manual operations which lack efficiency and repeatability. Manufacturing of tissues is plagued by lack of availability of biomimetic materials, reliable scaffolds and scale-up systems to process these biomaterials. Biomanufacturing Technology Group (BTG) carries out in-house and collaborative research with academic institutions, clinicians and industrial partners to develop processes, platform technologies and products. Our applications range from manufacturing of Cell Therapy, Future Food, Cultured Meat, Regenerative Medicine, Biomaterials development to scientific instrumentation and MedTech.
BTG’s Cell Manufacturing focuses on platform technologies to improve the scalability of bioprocessing and biomanufacturing. Leveraging on the team’s engineering expertise in prototyping and design, we work closely with industry and research partners to identify the technology gap and avenues of innovations. Adopting a modular system design approach, we can mix and match different functional modules to create multiple tiers of features and comprehensive systems for different applications. Our portfolio includes a patented single-use bioreactor technology for cell manufacturing, and an automated system with a family of functional modules centred around the bioreactor technology. A few examples are cell monitoring stage, light stimulation, agitation platform, small volume fluid control and climate control.
BTG’s Tissue Manufacturing focuses on developing platform technologies for extracting biomaterials from cells and tissues, followed by turning extracted biomaterials into useful formulations (hydrogels/bioinks) amenable for subsequent processing and developing scale-up printing processes/printing platforms, biomanufacturing tissue products. One core platform includes a decellularization reactor for extracting biomaterials from animal, plant and fungi samples. Our printing know-how includes Roll-to-panel (R2P), Roll-to-roll (R2R) as well as stereolithography and bioprinting tools. Currently, hydrogels, dermal tissue templates and cultured meat prototypes are being biomanufactured.
The developments in our manufacturing technologies are accelerated by our biological validation capabilities. We also liaise closely with external stakeholders to study their workflow to identify bottlenecks and pain points. Our knowledge in GMP and regulatory requirements of the product and the end-user ensures our technologies are compliant. Our monitoring capabilities include developing algorithms and systems for non-destructive monitoring of cells. The in-house method of acquiring and processing signals from live cells using label-free technique enables assessment of critical quality attributes (CQAs) of cells manufactured.