Germany’s ProBioGen supporting City of Hope’s CMV vaccine program

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Dr_Microbe
© GettyImages/Dr_Microbe

Related tags Vaccine City of Hope

The two entities have signed a non-exclusive licensing agreement.

US research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases, City of Hope, will use ProBioGen's cell-based and scalable viral manufacturing platform, AGE1.CR.pIX, for the production of its Cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine.

The two organizations teamed up previously on City of Hope’s modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) based-COVD-19 vaccine development work​.

Financial terms of the commercial license to use the AGE1.CR.pIX, including potential clinical milestones and future tiered royalties were not disclosed.

Human cytomegalovirus

Human cytomegalovirus (hCMV), which is one of the eight herpesviruses known to infect humans, is widespread all around the world and is mostly asymptomatic in immunocompetent people. However, hCMV may lead to severe and life-threatening disease in congenitally infected children and immunosuppressed individuals, such as transplant patients and those affected by acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Major difficulties in the development of a satisfactory vaccine​ include hCMV’s capacity to evade the immune response, unclear immune correlates for protection, low number of available animal models, and insufficient general awareness.

Plug and play technology 

Don J Diamond, the principal investigator and co-inventor of the patents covering City of Hope's synthetic MVA vaccine platform, said the center now wants to accelerate its CMV vaccine program. He outlined how AGE1.CR.pIX is a versatile and robust manufacturing platform and one that will support a productive and flexible process. “Our vaccine is truly unique as it is the only one in development that has been purposefully designed to be used to prevent congenital infections or control transplant-related infections."

Choosing the right production platform is a critical step for the development and manufacturing of a viral vaccine candidate, and AGE1.CR.pIX has proven industrial and biological properties that are optimized for this purpose, according to ProBioGen, which is a Berlin-based specialist in developing and manufacturing complex therapeutic glycoproteins.

The company explained that AGE1.CR.pIX grows in suspension in a chemically defined medium and has been designed to meet health authority guidelines. Furthermore, it said, the technology represents a cost-effective production platform for large scale manufacture of vaccines for humans and animals.

"Easily scalable plug and play technology for cost-effective vaccine production is important,"​ said Dr Volker Sandig, ProBioGen's CSO. “The agreement underlines the increasing worldwide market acceptance of our AGE1.CR.pIX cell line as a true alternative to other methods."

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