The accord – financial terms of which were not disclosed – will use Plasticell’s culture development platform to develop cheaper alternatives to the expensive reagents that are commonly used to produce gene therapies.
Sphere’s contribution will be its cell manipulation and screening technologies which – in combination with the Plasticell technologies – will be used to make “quantitatively accurate gene transduction systems with improved efficiency, safety and cost savings.”
According to Plasticell CSO Aaron Chuang, the idea is to help developers insert genes encoding therapeutic proteins into cells in a way that makes the resulting therapies cheaper.
“The efficiency, safety and cost of this process need to be optimized to ensure therapeutic efficacy, to mitigate potential adverse events such as insertional mutagenesis and to improve the cost-effectiveness of gene therapies.”
Marian Rehak, Sphere Fluidics’ Director of R&D, predicted that the firm’s technology will streamline the process.
“Our well controlled high-throughput approach can address some of the bottlenecks and risks of the cell manufacturing workflows. We are very keen to collaborate with Plasticell to investigate those issues, to optimize gene insertion processes and ultimately to improve the cell therapy efficacy.”
Plasticell’s platform, called CombiCult - was launched in 2010. It has been used companies like UCB, Sigma-Aldrich and EMD Millipore for culture development.
For example EMD Millipore, which partnered with Plasticell back in 2012, used the technology to develop a stem cell differentiation media - OsteoMAX-XF- for bone research and healing applications.
More recent users include Pierre Fabre Laboratories, which signed up to use it in February.
The French drug maker tasked Plasticell with developing a way of culturing brown adipose tissue (BAT) for studies of various plant-derived compounds.