Viropro inks production tech deal

By Anna Lewcock

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Biotechnology

Canadian firm Viropro last week announced that it has entered into
an R&D collaboration agreement with products and services
company Invitrogen.

The collaboration will focus on new production technologies, with Invitrogen facilitating the testing of the resultant technologies and assisting with development. The partnership will bring together Viropro's expertise in protein production with Invitrogen's media and cell line capabilities, with the intention of coming up with new and innovative solutions for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. The collaboration will generate recurring revenues and royalties for Viropro following the integration of the technology with Invitrogen's customized media platforms. Viropro also has the option to out-licence the technology and sign intellectual property agreements with other biotech firms interested in integrating the technology into their research and manufacturing processes. Viropro itself is not a pharmaceutical company and has no intentions of selling biological products, but according to Jean-Marie Dupuy, Viropro CEO, the firm has "clients in emerging countries willing to partner either by buying finished products or in obtaining technology transfer." ​ The Canadian biotech specialises in process development with a business model focussing on "blockbuster biogeneric therapeutic proteins,"​ said Dupuy. These include monoclonal antibodies that are due to come off patent in 2011 such as rituximab, infliximab and trastuzumab (sold by Genentech under the brand name Herceptin). The company uses expression vectors licensed from development partners at the Biotechnology Research Institute (BRI), as well as automated clone selection to isolate clones according to required protein expression levels. The expertise and resources the company has access to through the BRI relationship also further benefits the company in terms of biological product development and purification. "These technologies and expertise set us in a class apart from companies working with standard CMV [cytomegalovirus] vectors…and limit dilutions for cell line development,"​ Dupuy told "We therefore offer expertise in bioreactor process development up to 150-litres (working volume) and corresponding down-stream process development." ​ The long-term agreement between Viropro and Invitrogen further reinforces Viropro's confidence in its technology, and it is hoped the new technology will prove popular with both biotech and pharma firms.

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