Semba Biosciences, a Madison company that makes purifying equipment used by life sciences companies, is getting a $3 million investment from Tosoh Bioscience, part of a Japanese conglomerate, in a move that’s expected to lead to Tosoh’s eventual purchase of Semba.

Founded in 2005, Semba’s Octave Chromatography System has been used mainly for research purposes.

A new version of Octave that drew Tosoh’s investment will process and purify biological products being developed into drugs. It focuses on monoclonal antibodies, the foundation of many of the drugs currently being tested as potential cancer fighters and vaccines.

Monoclonal antibodies can bind to disease cells and serve as a flag to activate the body’s immune system to attack those cells. In addition to fighting cancer, scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said, in an article earlier this year in the New England Journal of Medicine, that monoclonal antibody-based drugs could be effective in fighting infectious disease outbreaks. They also are being used to help people with autoimmune diseases. Read the full story here.