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Cellectis and Lonza form biomanufacturing partnership

By Wai Lang Chu , 09-Jun-2010

Lonza is to collaborate with France’s Cellectis SA for the development and commercialisation of a bioengineered cell line.

The partnership continues an ongoing trend within the industry that is seeing a greater emphasis on the importance of biomanufacturing. As large-scale manufacturing continues to gain momentum, biotechnology firms are faced with limited resources. Biotechnology firms are now looking to form partnerships or outsource to contract manufacturing organisations (CMO) in order to promote and develop technology.

Under the terms of the agreement, genome engineering specialists Cellectis, will use its technology to deactivate ("knock-out") the glutamine synthetase (GS) in CHOK1SV, a host cell line for manufacturing recombinant antibodies.

The GS System has already been used to generate therapeutics for use in clinical trials and eventual commercialisation. Femta Pharmaceuticals’ used the GS System to facilitate the development and current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) production of FM101.

FM101

FM101, is a monoclonal (MAb) antibody that targets an immunomodulatory cytokine, this is involved in the damaging autoimmune response characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis RA.

Celectis’ will direct its genome customisation tool that uses meganucleases to induce unique site-directed double-strand breaks in the genome of organisms. Meganucleases specifically target gene integration, gene knock-out as well as of gene function modulation in for example, plants for agricultural and nutrition applications.

"The production of recombinant proteins is a key area where our technology is really bringing a real benefit to the biomanufacturing industry," said Marc Le Bozec, CEO of Cellectis bioresearch.

“It is an example of a new application of meganucleases, which are very efficient at knocking out specific genes."

New techniques

The adoption of more efficient development strategies and manufacturing techniques will be key to future success in the biomanufacturing sectors.

The commercial success of over 350 approved biologics is proof of this and has prompted the biotechnology industry to accelerate discoveries in further protein-based therapeutics, placing greater emphasis upon the importance of biomanufacturing.

Targeted approaches have replaced current random insertion strategies for gene therapy. Meganucleases, the most specific endonucleases, represent ideal tools for targeted genome editing, or genome surgery. They can induce up to 20 per cent of gene insertion into chosen human genes.

Other biotechnology firms experimenting with the meganucleases as a genome tool include Precision Biosciences. Its Directed Nuclease Editor (DNE) uses its own engineered endonuclease technology to essentially customise select genome, inserting, removing, modifying, and regulating genes in mammalian or plant cells.

In May last year, the technology was awarded the 2009 Genomics Technology Innovation of the Year award by Frost & Sullivan.

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