French biotech company ANGANY Genetics says its new platform can provide pharma companies low cost and high quality recombinant allergens for drug testing purposes.
The company, based in Val-de-Reuil, France, will, as of May this year, begin industrial-scale production of a series of purified and optimised allergens - specifically house-mite allergies and allergens inducing pollen and animal allergies – using a new manufacturing platform.
Speaking with this publication, spokesman CEO Dr. Loïc Faye said ANGANY had been approached by several mid-size pharma companies due to “the need for high quality recombinant allergens to increase both the specificity of allergy diagnostic and the efficiency of allergen specific immunotherapy” and ANGANY’s capacity to produce them with its new platform.
The company “is producing recombinant allergens in plants,” he continued. “This expression system associates low cost and high quality expression capacity” as allergens are produced not using transgenic plants but transient expression in plants which benefits growth (“less than 12 days from gene to protein”) and increases yield.
Faye was excited about the new technology, which the company claims can yield as much as 15% of total proteins, adding that ANGANY had no real competitors, only potential partners.
“Up to now most attempts at producing high quality natural-like recombinant allergens have failed for a very simple reason: you cannot ask a bacterium to reproduce the complexity of a protein from a higher organism, and most recombinant allergens currently available are produced in bacteria.”
The new 800m2 facility will employ more than twenty new staff members between now and the expected operations ramp-up in 2014 and, according to Faye, will follow “Good manufacturing practices in order to be able to provide pharmaceutical quality products that could be approved by the EMA & FDA on a longer term.”
At present, there are no simple pharmaceutical products that can treat allergies such as those caused by animals, pollen or food.
Allergen specific immunotherapies do exist, although they usually involve long courses of treatment and are often ineffective which is why sufferers use pharma products that reduce allergy symptoms rather than target the cause according to Faye.
Allergen specific immunotherapy is currently stunted in its efficiency by “the low quality of products used,” said Faye. “These products are crude extracts of pollen or house dust mite for instance, when in fact… the allergens from these organisms are responsible for the allergy and ideally these products… should be used for desensitization.”
“Recombinant allergens are purified, fully characterized, high and reproducible quality pharmaceutical products,” and therefore hold an advantage over crude allergen extracts for pharma companies making advances in allergy therapies.