Cobra Biologics, an international biologics and pharmaceuticals contract development and manufacturing organization recently announced that it will be collaborating with UK-based technology innovation foundation, Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and GE Healthcare Life Sciences.
The aim of the three-way partnership is to increase the strength and reduce costs for adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors manufacturing which is a gene therapy treatment delivery vehicle. The partnership will be funded by the Innovate UK grant which is worth £570K.
For the record, gene therapy is one of the fastest developing areas in medicine but only a small number of treatments have been approved for use till date while nearly 200 clinical trials are still underway. AAV vectors have been found to be versatile and effective as delivery vehicle for gene therapy but the complicated process for production of AAV has hindered their use in clinical trials. If manufacturing processes are not improved and process understanding is not enhanced, then there is a potential risk of commercially launching gene therapies at a price that healthcare payers such as the NHS will not be able to afford.
The chromatography technology platform based on Puridify fiber developed by GE Healthcare is able to achieve productivity of protein biopharmaceuticals with high levels of purification such as the monoclonal antibodies. This purification platform will find scope of application demonstration in gene therapy through GE Healthcare’s collaboration with CPI and Cobra Biologics. It will also provide more scalable, efficient and affordable therapies and gene therapy manufacturing.
The project is designed to widen the reach for GE Healthcare’s technology and for the development of a chromatography purification process based on multistep fiber for AAV. Cobra Biologics and CPI will be producing viral vectors in house using a system developed with an Innovate UK grant. The fiber-based technology that will be developed will then be transferred to CPI where flowsheets will be run that will incorporate the technology and demonstrate its aptness for AAV manufacture.