The two-year collaboration will focus on mammalian cell bioprocessing used to make biologic pharmaceuticals.
“The main aim is to develop a profile of cell process characteristics and attributes associated with cell line development and subsequent scale-up for production that will allow the development of early stage predictors of success for clone selection and manufacturability,” Cobra CEO Peter Coleman told this publication.
The company said the pharmaceutical industry needs “greater predictability and certainty in process development and scale-up” for immuno-oncology biologics.
The research will be supported via the FLexible Interchange Programme (FLIP) Scheme awarded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
The awards allows academic scientists to be seconded to roles in industry for investigative projects which will benefit both partners.
The grant will pay the University of Manchester to cover the salary of biotechnology professor Alan Dickson while he spends 40% of his working time with Cobra. It will also fund a full-time research technician for one year at the UK’s University of Manchester, who will also contribute to the research.
Cobra said it will also provide support “by directly aligning a number of internal R&D programmes to the grant remit and committing up to 20% of its internal R&D budget to the programme.”
UK and Sweden
The agreement will give Cobra access to Manchester’s academic research group, while Prof Dickson will receive Cobra’s production data and learn about industrial manufacturing processes.
“Professor Dickson has links and collaborations with UK and international academics, addressing all aspects of production of biopharmaceuticals,” said Cobra’s chief scientific officer, Daniel Smith.
“The insights of Professor Dickson into the various processes and tools used, combined with historical data case studies undertaken by Cobra Biologics, will allow better definition and enhancement of our current manufacturing processes and to build towards the idealised platforms and processes for future manufacture of innovator and biosimilar molecules.”
The R&D will take place at the University of Manchester and at Cobra’s sites in Staffordshire, UK and Sodertalje, Sweden.
The organisations did not disclose financial and intellectual property terms of the deal.