Lonza to make delivery vectors for Akouos' gene therapies at Houston plant

By Gareth Macdonald contact

- Last updated on GMT

Lonza's site in Houston, Texas, US (Source Lonza)
Lonza's site in Houston, Texas, US (Source Lonza)

Related tags: Gene therapy

Lonza has confirmed it will manufacture gene therapy delivery vectors for hearing and balance disorder-focused biotech Akouos.

The Swiss life science supplier and partner Massachusetts Eye and Ear (MEE) licensed rights to their adeno-associated viral vector gene therapy platform to Akouos last month in a deal that included Anc80, the most advanced vector in the portfolio.

Ryan Scanlon, Lonza’s head of viral gene therapy told us “Akouos received the exclusive rights to the portfolio of 40,000 novel Anc-AAV capsids within the field of hearing and balance disorders. Akouos also has the right to sublicense their rights within the field to other developers​.”

He added, “Lonza plans to be the manufacturing service provider for the Akouos products at our new facility that is being constructed in Houston​.”

Fact box

The synthetic vector technology​ underpinning Anc80 achieves higher gene expression levels in target organs than natural AAV vectors according to ME.

Luk Vandenberghe from MEE said the aim of the project was to “optimize AAVs for therapeutic gene transfer applications on clinically relevant parameters including host immunity, production yields, tissue targeting and specificity​.”

Process development

Lonza licensed rights to sell the vectors to gene therapy developers from MEE in September​ 2016 in an agreement that also saw it tasked with developing a commercial scale production process for Anc80.

Lonza will use the production processes it has developed to products developed by Akouos according to Scanlon.

To date we have established two parallel GMP-viable platform processes not only for making Anc80, but for all AAVs: a suspension Baculovirus-based process and; a suspension HEK293 triple transfection-based process.

Scanlon added that, “we are also pursuing next generation suspension mammalian-based platforms to meet the ever-evolving needs of customers in this space.

Akouos is not the only biotech to have accessed Anc80.

In May​ last year Selecta Biosciences, Inc. licensed rights to use the synthetic adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector to deliver its gene therapy candidate for the metabolic disease methylmalonic acidemia (MMA).

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