Bioprocessors, Alexion collaborate

May 7, 2002 — Bioprocessors Corp., a Woburn, Mass., startup developing microfluidic platforms for drug research, has signed a deal to collaborate with Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Alexion, based in Connecticut, had $5.2 million in revenues for the six months that ended Jan. 31 and burned through $28 million in expenses in the same period. The company has no products on the market yet, but is developing several anti-inflammatory compounds for cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases.

BioProcessors is developing a microfluidic platform to let researchers grow cells on microfabricated devices with environmental controls. The goal is to speed the process of drug discovery and development. Company executives have a working prototype of the technology now, and hope that within a year they will have three products ready for the market: a microfermentor, a microscreen and a microassay. The microfermentator is essentially a chamber to hold cellular samples, with attached components to control functions such as heating, cooling and purification. The goal of the product is to determine optimum conditions for growth of specific cells and then to let them grow in those perfect conditions.

Andrey Zarur, BioProcessors’ chief executive, said the collaboration with Alexion will hone the platform technology specifically for the microfermentor. “It’s to prove that our platform can work in an industrial setting,” he said.

The Alexion partnership is actually BioProcessors’ second collaboration deal, Zarur said. BioProcessors already has another partnership with a major pharmaceutical firm, but cannot disclose the partner’s name, he said.

Zarur said he welcomed the deal because Alexion is a relatively young pharmaceutical company (founded in 1992) that works in a field BioProcessors considers most promising: monoclonal antibodies. “They’re not afraid to try new things,” he said. “I think monoclonal antibodies will get a lot of attention in the next few years.”

BioProcessors was founded in California in October 2000. The company relocated to Boston and secured $6 million in funding from Oxford Bioscience Partners in February.

— Matt Kelly


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