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Edinburgh, UK – Synpromics Ltd, a leading synthetic biology company, and The Cell Therapy Catapult, the UK organisation accelerating the growth of the UK cell and gene therapy industry by bridging the gap between scientific research and commercialisation, today announce the launch of a collaboration to remove a major barrier to the development of the cell and gene therapy industry by reducing the cost and increasing the scale and efficiency of viral vector manufacturing. The collaboration will use Synpromics’ synthetic promoter design technology, and the Cell Therapy Catapult’s flexible manufacturing platform to create stable producer cell lines for the high titre and large scale manufacture of viral vectors. The work will be part funded by a £2m grant from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.
Viral vectors are a crucial tool needed to modify patient’s cells to create a therapeutic effect. Established manufacturing platforms are limited by laborious processes, a lack of automation and low yields. This restricts the utility of viral vectors for the treatment of diseases where large amounts of virus would be needed, and has to date confined their use to local applications such as in the eye and to less prevalent indications, including orphan diseases.
This project will use synthetic biology to develop novel and controllable gene-expression promoters to drive the production of a much higher level of viral vector yield from new stable cell lines. This will allow the industry to produce vectors to much higher titres and with more efficiency, removing the current constraints associated with plasmid transfection of anchorage dependent cell lines. The project will run for three years, and will be focused on developing prototype cell lines to deliver industry relevant viral vectors, including Retrovirus, and Adeno Associated Virus. Synpromics will be responsible for the expression platform development with the Cell Therapy Catapult responsible for process industrialisation and control.
“The Cell Therapy Catapult has extensive experience in developing cell and gene therapies for clinical trial and commercialisation. The collaboration between the Cell Therapy Catapult and Synpromics has brought together a number of complementary skills that will produce a solution to a big industrial challenge,” said Keith Thompson, CEO of the Cell Therapy Catapult.
Dr David Venables, CEO of Synpromics, said, “This will be the fifth major collaboration for Synpromics to apply our synthetic promoters in gene therapy. We believe Synpromics’ technology will provide a critically needed solution to high titre, industrial scale, vector manufacture, a critical barrier in the gene therapy industry. The result of this solution will be a major advance to the commercialisation of gene therapies in non-orphan drug indications.”