Pat Gilbert
Name: Patrick Gilbert
Position: R&D Manager for Agarose 
How long have you worked at Purolite?: 9 years

What does your role entail?

I work on the design of the agarose resin platform Praesto®. It comprises of traditional resins used in mAb purification including affinity, protein a and ion exchange resins. I have a team of 26 highly skilled people working on the Praesto® platform. We are based at the UK R&D Centre of Excellence in Llantrisant, Wales. The facilities here have been completely refurbished with the highest specification equipment.

We develop resins that look exclusively towards the end application so that we can focus solely on what is required. We work with originators to develop new therapeutics coming into the market and support biosimilar manufacturers in the creation of anti-cancer and auto-immune disease treatments. A lot of the people in the R&D team actually started in the pilot plant developing the first agarose resins. Now, they're working on delivering the next generation.

What is Praesto®?

Praesto® is a range of high-performance agarose resins predominantly used in the pharmaceutical industry for the purification of monoclonal antibodies. Our agarose journey started in June 2013, learning from the ground up how to make these beads, develop manufacturing methods and scale-up processes. The resins were commercialized in 2016 and by 2018, they were being used in clinical trials. The Praesto® range is developed exclusively at our Llantrisant site in Wales in the United Kingdom. We built a dedicated manufacturing facility in 2018 which is capable of supplying 30% of the global market for these resins with unprecedented demand for our next generation protein a product, Praesto® Jetted A50.

What is jetting technology?

Jetting technology was developed in-house at our facility here in Llantrisant. The introduction of jetting enabled us to double the binding capacity of the protein a resins within a short development window. All resins up to this point were produced by batch emulsification, a traditional manufacturing method for agarose resins. This method creates a wide distribution of particle sizes and requires a time-consuming sieving step which sometimes produced just a 30% yield, so it wasn't very economically viable. Jetting technology allows us to produce the resin without a sieving step, resulting in no wastage of raw materials and a solvent-free process with yields of 100%. It enables higher capacity, higher flow rates and better resolution. We are the only provider of jetted agarose resin in the industry and are capable of supplying at commercial volumes.

What is it like working for Purolite?

The thing I enjoy most about working for Purolite is that no two days are the same. It is great being able to see the products develop from R&D to being commercialized for our customers. We have programs with companies globally to make these high value medications affordable for the local domestic markets.

Everything Purolite does is done in conjunction with the customer. We have the freedom and flexibility to work hand in hand with our customers to deliver the solutions they need. We have a flat management structure so I report directly to one of the owners of the company. This enables us to make decisions very quickly. I believe the thing that sets Purolite's R&D team apart from the others in the industry is that our focus is 100% on resin technologies. In most other organizations, the R&D team are in the backroom. At Purolite, we put the R&D team at the forefront with the customer.

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