Pfizer represents a significant addition to the growing stable of pharmaceutical companies that have turned to ACE in order to develop cell lines for research, development and manufacturing of drug products.
The ACE, or artificial chromosome expression, system is a gene-delivery technology used to generate high-expressing cell lines for protein production and is claimed to offer improved speed and protein yields over rival platforms, particularly for monoclonal antibody production.
One of the unique features of the ACE System is that it allows 'auditioning' of several cell lines for optimal product yields and quality in a short time.
In the last few months, Chromos has signed licensing agreements for the ACE technology with Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Centocor, Swiss contract manufacturing company Lonza and Cambridge Antibody Technology of the UK.
Alistair Duncan, president and CEO of the Canadian company, said the new agreement gives Chromos an immediate cash infusion and provides further evidence that momentum is building in Chromos cell line engineering business. The company diversified earlier this year via an alliance with AppTec Laboratory Services that added in contract manufacturing capabilities. This has made it more attractive as a partner, according to Chromos, as it can now offer scale-up and manufacturing of drugs made using the ACE system.
Under the terms of the license agreement, Pfizer will have the right to use the ACE System internally to engineer cell lines for product research, development and manufacturing. The license extends an existing agreement between the firms, announced at the end of 2004, in which Chromos is using the ACE System to engineer cell lines to express a Pfizer protein.
Pfizer said it would continue to support this on-going work. The financial details of the license agreement were not disclosed.