Cost-effective manufacturing has been a main industry driver in the popularity of Mabs. Estimated at $1.47 billion (€1.2 billion) in 2004, Frost & Sullivan expects the total European monoclonal antibody therapeutics market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.1 per cent to amass $11.4 billion in 2011.
Under the terms of the new agreement, Chromos will use its ACE System to develop a cell line for a Pfizer therapeutic protein product candidate. The parties will also initiate a collaborative program to genetically engineer production cell lines.
Chromos' ACE System is the company's chromosome-based gene delivery and expression platform. Chromos' technology, the ACE System (artificial chromosome expression), is a vehicle for carrying genes into cells.
It offers competitive advantages in that it permits the insertion of selected genes, allowing for the long term and stable expression of large, single or multiple proteins, and provides a means to selectively and predictably control protein expression.
In addition, Pfizer will provide funding to support the new programs. Any product candidates produced using the ACE System that Pfizer elects to develop and commercialise will be subject to the terms of Pfizer's existing non-exclusive commercial license.
Chromos and Pfizer entered into an initial collaboration agreement in December 2004 and May 2005 saw Pfizer taking on a non-exclusive license to use the ACE System for research, development and manufacturing of its products.
"Our relationship with Pfizer has been productive as evidenced by their expanded commitment to the ACE System," said Alistair Duncan, President and CEO of Chromos.
"We look forward to continuing to work on multiple programs with Pfizer to take advantage of the features and benefits of the ACE System for cell line engineering."
Industry analysts have long recognised that current antibody production platforms used in the industry are not expected to meet future demand for production capacity.
Despite recent advances, development costs are still relatively high forcing most companies to adopt premium pricing for mAb products.
As competition intensifies, strategic alliances between mAb developers and big pharmaceuticals companies have become popular accelerating market growth.
Chromos has numerous alliances of this nature, working alongside the likes of Cambridge Antibody Technology, Lonza Biologics, and MorphoGen Pharmaceuticals.