- The South Easton, Massachusetts, company was founded in 1978 by Harvard-trained serial entrepreneur Richard Schumacher
- Pressure Bio gained momentum in 2017 after acquiring the assets of Aurora, Colorado-based BaroFold Inc
- The company’s Pressure Cycling Technology has been widely adopted with more than 300 PCT systems installed in 200 sites worldwide
What Pressure Bio does:
Pressure BioSciences Inc (OTCQB:PBIO) develops pressure-based platform technology solutions for the booming life sciences industry.
It makes high pressure-based scientific instruments for drug design and development and the food science and CBD market.
The South Easton, Massachusetts, company was founded in 1978 by Harvard-trained serial entrepreneur Richard Schumacher, who plans to step down as CEO in September.
“I will be seventy years old in August 2020,” said Schumacher. “I have worked closely with the board to prepare for a strong and orderly transition in leadership as we enter this new growth phase.”
Under a succession plan, Chief Commercial Officer Bradford Young will take over from Schumacher.
Three key platform technologies
The company has three novel platform technologies that harness the power of pressure for biological R&D, manufacturing and lots more. Here’s a quick snapshot of the tech platforms:
Pressure Cycling Technology: The company’s flagship technology uses alternating cycles of hydrostatic pressure between ambient and ultra-high levels to control the actions of molecules in biological samples, such as cells and tissues from people, animals, plants and microbial sources. The technology has taken off with more than 300 PCT systems installed in nearly 200 sites worldwide.
The BaroFold platform: Helps biopharma companies make high quality protein therapeutics and lower the cost of existing formulations. Pressure Bio sells bench-top Barocycler instruments that help scientists process samples. The compact Barocycler 2320EXT machine, for example, helps researchers process up to 16 samples simultaneously with Barocycler consumable products, such as PCT MicroTubes.
Ultra Sheer Technology: Pressure Bio holds two patents for Ultra Sheer Technology (UST), which applies high-pressure levels greater than 20,000 pounds per square inch. The tech allows companies to extend the shelf life of milk and juices by reducing heat exposure in the preservation process through elevated pressure and controlled temperatures. The technology also creates nano-scale emulsion mixtures that allow fluids to mix that normally don’t mix, such as CBD oil and water. As a result, the tech has wide potential uses in the CBD, pharma, industrial ink, retail and cosmetics industry.
How is it doing:
Pressure Bio gained momentum in 2017 after acquiring Aurora, Colorado-based BaroFold Inc’s PreEMT high-pressure protein refolding technology.
It continues to be a catalyst as PreEMT technology slashes costs by $2 million to $10 million a year for manufacturing biologic drugs, says the company. It also gets proper results from difficult-to-manufacture proteins.
Helped immeasurably by the BaroFold deal, which gave it key patents and a high pressure-based protein disaggregation and refolding platform, Pressure Bio launched its biopharma contract services in January.
“We expect the BaroFold acquisition to have very positive effects on our instrument and services revenue,” said Young.
Another big step came when Dr Aliyar Fouladkhah, assistant professor at Tennessee State University, demonstrated in food safety studies that the company’s high-pressure equipment — the Barocycler HUB440 and Barocycler HUB880 — can ‘dramatically reduce’ pathogenic bacteria and E.coli in food.
The studies show that pressure above 58,000 pounds per square inch (psi) at ambient temperature can inactivate bacterial spores, viruses, yeasts, molds and parasites, boosting food safety.
The Barocycler HUB440 and Barocycler HUB880 which generate fluid pressure up to 58,000 psi and 100,000 psi respectively, offer food longer shelf-life without the use of chemical additives or heat.
High-pressure food processing will explode into a $42 billion market by 2026, according to the company.
Another inflection point for Pressure Bio comes from the recent launch of its BaroShear K45 system aimed at the CBD market based on the company's patented Ultra Shear Technology platform.
The CBD oil created with the BaroShear K45 system disperses instantly and improves the effectiveness of CBD dosing as well as absorption. It makes it easier for the oil to be added to sodas and seltzers, vitamin-infused sports drinks and beer.
The BaroShear K45 system which has a list price of $195,000 is expected to be a major revenue-generating part of the company’s business. The new system's sales could double Pressure Bio’s revenue by the second quarter of 2020, according to the company.
Meanwhile, researchers at Ohio State University are using the company’s custom-built Ultra Shear Technology instruments to study pressure and shear effects on pathogen inactivation. Pressure Bio was granted a $318,000 sub-contract from the CFAES researchers to build a UST bench-top instrument with a larger floor model to generate food science safety data that will aid process adoption by the industry and acceptance by regulators.
The company’s Pressure Cycling Technology and BaroFold platform can play a key role in helping pharma companies produce protein-based therapeutics, a market expected to touch $240 billion by 2023.
"We put a lot of effort and focus on our new biopharma and UST contract services with very encouraging results,” said Young. “We will continue to emphasize these key strategic growth initiatives. The growing use of these new services will also support increased sales of our Pressure Cycling Technology instruments and consumables.”
For the first quarter ended March 2019, the new biopharma and Ultra Shear Technology platform contract services contributed $238,000 to revenue where there was no services revenue in the same period a year ago.
Contact Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]