Teva picks Beacon, brings antibody development to light in Australia

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

GettyImages/Niyazz
GettyImages/Niyazz

Related tags Teva pharmaceutical industries Protein

Teva Pharmaceuticals Australia has selected Berkeley Lights’ biological workflow platform to develop therapeutic antibodies at its R&D site in New South Wales.

Teva Pharmaceuticals Australia – a wholly owned subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries – said the Beacon platform would help expand its pipeline of treatments for central nervous system and neurodegenerative disorders, and respiratory illnesses.

The platform automates cell line development, antibody discovery and engineering, gene editing and synthetic biology. It is capable of screening thousands of antibody-producing cells in one day, a Berkeley Lights spokesperson told us.

The technology uses light – via a structured-light optical engine – to place thousands of cells in nano-size chambers on a single glass chip.

“An epifluorescent microscope captures bright field fluorescence images of each NanoPenTM chamber at multiple time points,” ​the firm explained.

Researchers can use these chips to “pre-program processes such as culturing, assaying and exporting cells based upon user specified characteristics, and then remove those cells for further development,” ​we were told.

Berkeley Lights claims the direct interaction its approach makes possible is significantly faster than conventional microfluidic cell management methods.

Antibody development

Teva Australia spokesperson Anthony Doyle told us the firm will use the technology to generate B cells it will use to produce candidate therapeutic antibodies.  

The firm “believes that single B cell technology is a powerful approach to generate therapeutic antibodies and is well suited for challenging targets such as G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and ion channels,” ​said Doyle.

Further, it is well suited to the generation of antibodies against challenging targets, “and importantly for us, could be readily brought in-house,” ​he said.

Berkeley Lights told us the technology is well-priced, and can reduce speed and improve efficiency in antibody development.

“The value that the Beacon brings to antibody discovery is well beyond the price of the platform,” ​the Berkeley Lights spokesperson told us.

“What used to take 90 days or more has been reduced to three days with the Beacon…the speed and efficiency allows more to be done and also provides the ability to iterate and innovate faster,” ​he added.

In September, Berkeley Lights announced​ it would install its Beacon platform in Bayer’s research facility in North Rhine-Westphalia-based, where the German firm conducts cell line development and antibody discovery programmes.

Yesterday, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries announced​ plans to reduce its workforce by 14,000 – across a “significant number” ​of manufacturing plants in the US, Europe, Israel and Growth Markets –  in a bid to save the firm $3bn (€2.5bn) a year by the end of 2019.  

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