Under the agreement, GE Healthcare Life Sciences will install its laser-based, cell imagine technology – IN Cell Analyzer 6500HS – and its ÄKTA OligoProcess platform, used to synthesise kilogram quantities of oligonucleotides.
Oligonucleotides – chemically synthesised short nucleic acid polymers designed to fuse with DNA or ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequences – are designed to treat infectious, and genetic diseases, as well as some cancers.
According to RiBoBio, the firms aim to “jointly build Asia’s largest oligonucleotide drug development and manufacturing facility in China.”
A RiBoBio spokesperson told us the site will not uniquely target Chinese firms.
“RiBoBio will make oligonucleotide APIs [active pharmaceutical ingredients] to provide CDMO [contract development and manufacturing organisation] services for clients worldwide,” said the spokesperson.
The firm did not disclose the cost of the facility, but said it expects the site to be operational by the end of 2018.
US oligo boost
The US has shown an increased interest in oligo treatments, with recent facility expansions in central and north-east states.
In August, 2016, Agilent announced plans for a nucleic acid API manufacturing plant in Colorado, and in July this year, Nitto Denko Avecia said it would launch its expanded oligo API facility in Massachusetts.
GE Healthcare and CordenPharma also announced a strategic agreement for oligonucleotide development in July, under which GE Healthcare’s Dharmacon will offer early-phase, and CordenPharma later phase, services.