BioLife broadens its cryopreservation capabilities with thawing technology

Acquires Astero Bio Corp., developer of thawing devices


BioLife Solutions, Inc., makers of a series of biopreservation materials used for work in cellular and genetic therapies (CGTs), is acquiring Astero Bio Corp., which has developed a line of thawing devices, branded as ThawStar. The purchase price was $8 million, plus $12.5 million if certain performance milestones are met.

ThawStar technology features automated thawing devices for biomaterials packaged in cryovials and cryobags. According to BioLife, they “improve the quality of administration of high-value, temperature-sensitive biologic therapies to patients by standardizing the thawing process and reducing the risks of contamination and overheating, which are inherent with the use of traditional water baths.”

In many CGT development projects, cells are cryogenically frozen in order to shut down biological activity, thereby extending shelf life. BioLife’s CryoStor and HypoThermosol media enable the cells to be safely chilled; now, the ThawStar technology can be used to reactivate the cells. As Mike Rice, BioLife CEO, noted, “Reimbursement of cell and gene therapies is evolving into a ‘pay on cure’ paradigm, with payment predicated on a positive patient response. Like our biopreservation media products, Astero products mitigate the risk of administering a non-viable dose. The synergies in this transaction include targeting the same customer base.”