Merck has acquired Massachusetts-based Erbi Biosystems, a developer of the 2 ml micro-bioreactor platform technology, known as the “Breez™”.

Erbi’s differentiated 2 ml micro-bioreactor platform technology, Breez™, enables rapid lab testing for bioprocessing scale up
Allows Merck to offer full range of bioreactors, from 2ml to 2000L
Adds to company’s expertise in monoclonal antibody (mAb) process development

Merck, a leading science and technology company, has acquired Massachusetts-based Erbi Biosystems, a developer of the 2 ml micro-bioreactor platform technology, known as the “Breez™”. The deal strengthens Merck’s upstream portfolio in therapeutic proteins by enabling scalable cell-based perfusion bioreactor processes from 2ml to 2000L with rapid lab-scale process development. It also offers future development opportunities in novel modality applications, including cell therapies. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“Erbi’s Breez™ is one of the few micro-scale, fully automated, functionally closed and continuous perfusion cell culture platform technologies on the market. Its footprint is also much smaller than that of other bioreactor platform technologies,” said Darren Verlenden, Head of Process Solutions, Life Science business sector of Merck. “By integrating the Breez™ in our extensive Mobius® portfolio, we can now offer a full range of bioreactors, cell retention systems and devices, and cell culture media. This increases the productivity of Merck’s upstream processes and will further accelerate the adoption of perfusion cell culture operations as our customers move towards more connected and continuous processing.”

“We look forward to joining Merck and are confident that our expertise in bioprocessing process development will complement the Mobius® portfolio and help advance life-enhancing therapeutics,” said Michael Chiu, President and CEO at Erbi Biosystems.

The Breez™ micro-bioreactor platform technology expands the upstream portfolio of Merck’s BioContinuum™ Platform, which includes cell culture, cell retention, and bioreactor solutions for continuous bioprocessing. As part of Merck’s intensified upstream ecosystem, the Breez™ will transform continuous process development through automation. It increases operator throughput by up to four times compared to other benchtop-scale systems to yield high-performing continuous processes that lower the cost of manufacturing and increase speed to market. Compared to competitive bioreactor platform technologies, it requires less bench space and no biosafety hood.

The acquisition of Erbi Biosystems, which closed on December 1, 2022, is another milestone to accelerate innovation in Merck’s Process Solutions business unit through targeted smaller to medium-sized acquisitions with high impact. Process Solutions business, together with the Life Science Services business unit, is one of Merck’s “Big 3” growth drivers. The company aims to increase its Group sales to approximately € 25 billion by 2025.


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