The inducible promoters are used in gene therapy to control protein production, by enabling gene expression to be turned on or off in response to signals in the cell environment.
The development was supported by an Innovate UK grant awarded last year to Synpromics, an Edinburgh, Scotland-based company focusing on gene control.
The promoters were developed and tested by the two companies, who have been partners for several years, through Lonza’s GS Xceed Expression System platform.
According to the latest agreement, the promoters will be incorporated into Lonza’s GS Gene Expression System – a cell line development platform.
This will allow the cell function to be fine-tuned in response to external stimuli, and protein production to be switched on or off based on certain bioreactor conditions.
“This could be an important enabler for successful continuous (as against batch) manufacturing in the future,” Sarah Holland, global head of licensing for Lonza, told us.
She added that the promoters may also help with the production of particularly challenging proteins, such as those which are toxic to the producing cells or are easily destabilized.
Although the promoters were developed specifically for Lonza’s manufacturing platform, Holland told us the company is planning to launch a licensing offering, as soon as an appropriate support package is built.
Lonza’s GS Gene Expression System is being used for protein production by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including Roche, AstraZeneca, and Alexion.
Synpromics has developed a family of synthetic promoters utilized by organizations like GE Healthcare, Sartorius, and the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health.
In 2017, the company announced it received investments of £5.2M ($6.6M) from Calculus Capital, the Scottish Investment Bank, and private shareholders in order to enhance its synthetic promoter design technology used in gene therapy development.