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Key Biologics, has completed its merger with Astarte Biologics to provide research- and clinical-grade human immune cells, blood products, and related services to the biopharmaceutical industry. In conjunction with the merger the new entity also received an investment from Ampersand Capital Partners to continue expanding the company in the rapidly evolving cell and gene therapy markets.

Memphis-based Key has established itself as a trusted supplier of critical raw materials, specifically human cells used in fundamental research, cell therapy manufacturing and process development, and commercial immunotherapies. Astarte brings highly complementary immunology expertise that will play a valuable role in expanding the combined company’s cell characterization, custom cell line and assay development capabilities. With the merger the company now has footprints in both Memphis and Seattle with plans to open a third site in Boston by 2019 to meet growing market demand. 

Dr. Edward Scott, founder of Key Biologics, stated, “We are very excited to partner with Astarte to expand Key’s product and service offerings and rapidly scale the combined company to meet the growing demand for high-quality stem and immune cells in the research and therapeutic markets.  The addition of Astarte not only brings valuable technical and operational expertise and service capabilities, it also adds a portfolio of well-characterized and antigen-specific immune cells that customers can use as critical research models in their drug development workflows.” 

Founder and CEO of Bothell-based Astarte Biologics, Dr. Anne Lodge, commented, “Our partnership with Key represents a highly complementary union of cell collection with downstream processing, characterization, and model and assay development capabilities. The combination enables us to accelerate programs in drug discovery and safety testing, enhance fundamental research, and streamline manufacturing process development. As the industry continues to appreciate the role of the immune system in disease pathology, as well as the ability to modulate it to treat various conditions, our unrivaled expertise in T cell biology positions us very well to support current and future customers.”

(Source: Key Biologics)

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