Thermo Fisher Scientific launches new cell media

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dna, Cell culture

Two new cell growth media for human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells
have been launched to aid the discovery and production of various
biological drugs.

The new media, CDM4HEK293 and SFM4Transfx293, are chemically defined and contain no animal-derived components, adding to the HyClone product line that already contains media for use in both research and biopharmaceutical manufacturing. As such they are available in liquid form in small-volume bottles or in the large scale HyClone BioProcess containers. For those needing to save space the media are also available as a dry powdered formulation for on-site hydration. The HEK 293 cell line is an epithelial cell line derived by the transformation of human embryonic kidney cells with sheared adenovirus 5 DNA in the laboratory of Frank Graham in the late 1970s. The cells are easy to work with and are widely-used in both cell biology research and in biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes. "There are regulatory pressures to move away from animal derived media,"​ said Matt Anderson, Thermo Fisher Scientific's serum-free media product manager. These pressures can cause problems in the production of recombinant protein drugs where there is concern that animal-derived products may contain infectious agents such as viruses, mycoplasma or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies that could be carried through into biological products. The CDM4HEK293 has been designed to support the growth of HEK 293 cells and promote the production of recombinant protein therapies and the adenoviral vectors used in gene therapy. A report by Kalorama Information, entitled Transfection and Gene Transfer: Technologies and Markets​, has predicted that the gene therapy market will reach $45bn (€33bn) by 2010. The use of recombinant protein biological drugs has been growing at a speed double that of the pharmaceutical market and the market was estimated to be worth $50bn in 2005. The use of chemically defined media means there is more batch to batch consistency allowing manufacturers to optimise the manufacturing process and minimise the changes when a process goes from the research laboratory onto the production floor. The SFM4Transfx293 line has been produced to promote the transfer of DNA and other nucleic acids into cells which subsequently undergo viral replication in the transfected cell. To accomplish a stable transfection, a gene that gives some selection advantage is often co-transfected to give resistance towards a certain toxin for instance. If that toxin is then added to the cell culture, only those cells that have been successfully transfected will be able to survive and be cultivated further. These two new products will be competing against offerings from the new offerings from Novozymes as well as products from Invitrogen.

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