The idea is to combine CTC’s manufacturing and process analytics knowhow with Edinburgh, Scotland-based Synpromics’ gene expression expertise to develop a low-cost way of making viral vectors in bulk.
Synpromics’ main contribution will be its range of synthetic promotors, which are artificial DNA sequences that can be inserted into cell genomes at specific locations to increase – or upregulate – the expression of adjacent genes.
The aim is to use these promotors to increase protein production levels of the cells used to make viral vectors in combination with manufacturing methods being developed at CTC.
CTC’s head of analytical development, Damian Marshall, told us the driver for the collaboration is the desire to help gene therapy developers scale-up production in a cost effective manner.
“The majority of viral vector products in translational development rely on very limited bioprocesses, which often cannot deliver the amount of material needed for clinical trials let alone market supply.
He added that: “Our intention is that by developing this manufacturing platform, it will accelerate the clinical development of these therapies and provide a clear path to commercial production at a scale and COGs which is affordable to healthcare budgets.”
Development of the platform will be carried out at CTC’s laboratory at Guy’s Hospital in London, UK. However, the intention is to make the system available to gene therapy firms at the manufacturing centre the organisation is building in Stevenage.
According to plans published by CTC in October, the £55m ($84m) manufacturing facility is intended to support both development and commercial-scale gene therapy production when operational in 2017.