Syntaxin awarded DTI grant to investigate biopharma processing

Syntaxin, a newly formed biopharmaceutical company focusing on the discovery and development of new medicines derived from bacterial toxins to treat chronic diseases, has been awarded a collaborative r&d grant of more than 1.2m from the UK Department for Trade and Industry (DTI).

Syntaxin will be collaborating with The Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering (ACBE) at UCL (University College London), and the UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) to develop enhanced methods for the bioprocessing of complex proteins that can be used as biopharmaceuticals to treat neurological, respiratory and metabolic diseases.

Syntaxin will design the therapeutics to be investigated using its expertise and intellectual property in designing novel recombinant proteins and candidate biopharmaceutical agents. The ACBE is the UK focus for bioprocess research, and will apply its expertise in ultra scale-down experimentation and process modelling to rapidly explore novel bioprocess routes and their optimisation. The HPA will then undertake the scale-up of these methodologies to develop manufacturing processes for Syntaxin's biotherapeutic candidates.

"Syntaxin has a product development platform that can generate a range of biotherapeutic molecules with several common features: these include a common expression vehicle, and shared protein domains," said Dr Keith Foster, chief scientific officer of Syntaxin. "The knowledge that we will generate through this programme will accelerate our ability to bring important new medicines for chronic diseases to the market."

Dr Roger Gilmour, director of the HPA's centre at Porton Down, added: "Process development and scale-up for the manufacture of biologics to GMP standards is one of the key capabilities of the Agency, and we are delighted to be able to help Syntaxin develop new medicines."

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