PolyTherics, a biopharmaceutical company spun from Imperial College London in 2002, has signed a manufacturing and representation agreement with Canadian firm BioVectra, a deal sure to boost the fledgling company's confidence as it establishes itself in the industry. PolyTherics' novel PEGylation technique promises to offer a number of advantages over traditional PEGylation methods, and has already attracted the attention of a number of European and US-based biogeneric and pharmaceutical companies. The new agreement will see BioVectra manufacturing good manufacturing practice (GMP) compliant MPEG reagents to support clients' clinical development of the new PEGylation technology, TheraPEG, as well as marketing the platform to its North American client base. The technology can extend the half-life of protein drugs, improve biological activity and increase yield when compared to conventional PEGylation techniques, according to the PolyTherics. This essentially means that drugs stay active in the body for longer, enabling less frequent dosing and consequently fewer side-effects and lower costs. The technology "exploits the selective chemistry of naturally occurring disulphide bonds" present in protein structures, using them to attach polyethylene glycol (PEG) in a targeted, site-specific fashion. As the disulphide bonds occur naturally in the structure of most proteins, the TheraPEG technology also avoids any artificial engineering. The process is also more readily controlled than traditional PEGylation techniques, and offers additional benefits in terms of versatility, efficiency, scale-up and cost-effectiveness, according to PolyTherics. This week's BioVectra deal comes swiftly on the heels of a £2m (€2.9m) cash injection from a number of backers keen to support the company and the growth of the technology. With BioVectra now on board, the TheraPEG platform will be more accessible, with key components needed for clinical development of the PEGylation technology readily available from a reliable source. The latest step in PolyTherics' development, the deal represents a key milestone in getting the company's technology out of the lab and into the hands of potential manufacturers and commercialised products.