Baxter Healthcare and GlycoFi have entered into a two-year research collaboration under which Baxter will evaluate the potential of using the latter firm's fungal expression platform for the production of human therapeutic proteins. Specific financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.
Currently, many therapeutic proteins require the use of mammalian cell lines in their production process, and this is not only time-consuming, but also requires a significant investment in manufacturing capacity. One solution is to use non-mammalian cell lines, but an obstacle here is that these cells often are unable to replicate the complex sugar (glycosylation) structures that line the outside of many therapeutic proteins. GlycoFi claims to have overcome this problem with its platform, which uses yeast and filamentous fungi cells as production vehicles.
"The production of many human therapeutic proteins involves complex processes and major capital investments that may limit the ability of the biotech industry to meet future demands for the production of biopharmaceuticals in the pipeline,"said Norbert Riedel, chief scientific officer at Baxter.
A significant production bottleneck exists in the biotech industry, resulting from the number of therapeutic proteins in development and the currently limited capacity that exists for manufacturing these proteins for clinical trials and ultimately, commercialisation, commented Charles Hutchinson, GlycoFi's chief executive.