The latest deal – financial terms of which have not been disclosed – will see California, US-based Sorrento use the technology to generate cell lines for the production of therapeutic antibodies, including two candidate cancer medications.
The GS Xceed expression system uses a version of the Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell line – specifically CHOK1SV – that lacks the enzyme fucosyltrasferase, which is responsible for adding units of the sugar fucose into the structural backbones of antibody molecules.
According to Kyowa Hakko Kirin’s BioWa unit – which developed the cell line with Lonza – antibodies with low fucose content better able to interact with immune cells and are therefore more potent therapeutic agents than antibodies that contain higher amounts of the sugar.
CHOK1SV cells also lack the enzyme glutamine synthetase, which renders them unable to make the amino acid glutamine and provides BioPharmas with a handy way of ensuring that only specific cells – those containing genes for their candidate products – survive.
Pfizer signs up
Lonza launched GS Xceed last July and claimed that, in addition to producing antibodies with higher potency, the system can also reduce development time by six weeks compared to the previous version of the GS system that used CHO1SV cells.
At the time the firm told our sister publication in-Pharmatechnologist.com the system was designed for both Big Pharma organisations and smaller developers, which can access obtain research and development licenses.
Whether GS Xceed goes on to be as popular as the previous version of the system – which is used to make 13 approved biopharmaceutical products by companies like Genentech, Roche and MedImmune – remains to be seen, but for Lonza the signs are promising.
Last week US BioPharma major Pfizer licensed rights to the expression system for the development of its pipeline of therapeutic antibody candidates.