Cell Therapy Catapult and Synpromics to develop large-scale viral vector manufacturing platform

The three-year project will use Synpromics' synthetic biology to develop controllable gene-expression promoters to drive the production of a much higher level of viral vector yield

The UK's Cell Therapy Catapult says it has removed a major barrier to the development of the cell and gene therapy industry by collaborating with synthetic biology company Synpromics in a project that will reduce the cost and increase the scale and efficiency of viral vector manufacturing.

The collaboration will use the Edinburgh, Scotland-based firm's synthetic promoter design technology and the Cell Therapy Catapult's 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.

Synpromics says viral vectors are a 'crucial tool' needed to modify a patient’s cells to create a therapeutic effect.

'Established manufacturing platforms are limited by laborious processes, a lack of automation and low yields,' the firm said.

'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 common indications, including orphan diseases.'

The project will focus on developing prototype cell lines to deliver industry relevant viral vectors

The three-year project will use Synpromics' 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.

The project will focus 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, while the Cell Therapy Catapult will handle process industrialisation and control.

Keith Thompson, CEO of the Cell Therapy Catapult, said the collaboration with Synpromics 'has brought together a number of complementary skills that will produce a solution to a big industrial challenge'.

This is the fifth major collaboration for Synpromics and Dr David Venables, CEO, said the firm's technology will provide a 'critically needed solution to high titre, industrial scale, vector manufacture' and make a 'major advance to the commercialisation of gene therapies in non-orphan drug indications'.

Companies