Vivalis' EBx cell lines show more promise for MAbs

By Katrina Megget

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Biotechnology

Vivalis is set to stamp out the Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell
line competition as the French company announces initial results in
a second study on monoclonal antibody production using its
avian-derived cell line.

Results in a scientific collaboration with French biopharmaceutical company Innate Pharma, have so far showed monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) produced in Vivalis' EBx avian embryonic stem cell line have a higher anti-cancer activity than those produced in the traditional CHO line.

The study follows data released by Vivalis and Mat Biopharma in July, which suggested EBx produced MAbs had a high cytotoxic activity.

The new results in the Innate Pharma collaboration established the glycosylation profile of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) produced in EBx cells was similar to that in human MAbs.

The EBx MAbs also had a reduced fucose content, which is associated with better antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC), a biological activity attractive for treating cancerous cells.

Innate's functional analysis of the study confirmed MAbs produced in EBx cells had a higher ADCC activity compared to MAbs produced in CHO cells.

Vivalis chief scientific officer Majid Mehtali said in a statement: "The results obtained so far during this collaboration, show that EBx cells have the potential to constitute a new cellular platform for the production of recombinant proteins, in particular anti-cancer monoclonal antibodies."

Innate Pharma chief scientific officer Francois Romagne said: "Avian embryonic cells represent a promising alternative for the production of recombinant antibodies, mainly cytotoxic, for pharmaceutical uses."

EBx cells are already being used for cell-based vaccine development by Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis.

The move away from traditional egg-based vaccine manufacture to cell-based technologies reflects the desire to speed up the manufacturing process and to reduce the risk of infection in donor chicken flocks, bacterial contaminants, or the inability to manufacture particularly virulent viruses.

Chinese Hamster Ovary cell lines have been used since the 1980s in the production of monoclonal antibodies but the study results provided by Vivalis suggest avian cell lines are also a viable alternative for MAb production.

The MAb market is estimated to be about $20bn (€14.4bn).

Vivalis developed a proprietary process allowing it to generate cell lines from avian embryonic stem (ES) cells without any genetic, chemical or physical modifications, and applied this process to generate duck cell lines known as EBx.

The advantages of the cell line include proliferation in bioreactors at high cell densities, growth in serum-free media and absence of in vivo tumorogenicity.

As well as this, Vivalis maintains that the EBx cells are highly susceptible to a series of human and animal viruses, including poxviruses and influenza A and B viruses, and also "easily amenable" to genetic engineering for the expression of foreign proteins.

The company hopes to have the first EBx commercial licence for antibody production by 2009.

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