Pall bullish on disposable filters, bioreactors

Since the recent announcement of Merck KGaA's acquisition of Millipore, people want to know what Tony Butler is thinking about the filtration business. Butler is an analyst at Barclays Capital.

During a recent Barclay's healthcare conference, Butler opened for Eric Krasnoff, chairman and CEO at Pall Corp., who provided a bird's-eye supplier view.

Krasnoff says Pall's systems orders are up, indicating a loosening of the purse strings among key customers. Investments are again being made, he says, and "that looks good for certainly the rest of the year and into 2011 in the pharma and biotech sectors."

Biopharma is the "major engine of growth," with the vaccine, biologicals, and plasma sectors doing the driving. Pall is moving into proteomics, genomics, and diagnostic technologies, he says.

The company's January acquisition of MicroReactor Technologies, a maker of high-throughput miniature bioreactor equipment and disposables, fits with Pall's Total Fluid Management program involving membrane technology products for fluid filtration and purification. The MRT platform simulates the performance of stirred-tank bioreactors for both cell culture and microbial fermentation. Systems span bench scale (1 to 20L) through production (to 200,000L).

"This is really automation--a speeding up and a condensing--of the process. We're very excited about this platform," says Krasnoff.

Pall's second-quarter sales were about $560 million, with $147 million in biopharma and $100 million in medical, for about 44 percent of sales in life sciences.

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