Cobra Biologics and Touchlight link up to optimise manufacture of gene therapies

Partners aim to evaluate a platform for the safe and rapid production of Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) vectors

Peter Coleman: 'For more than 15 years Cobra has been helping customers to manufacture their plasmid DNA and viral based medicines'

Cobra Biologics, an international CDMO, has linked up with London-based biotech Touchlight, which has developed a novel enzyme technology for large scale production of DNA, to optimise the manufacture of Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) vectors used in the delivery of gene therapy treatments.

The collaboration aims to evaluate a platform for the safe and rapid production of AAV vectors, using Touchlight’s dbDNA constructs together with Cobra’s CDMO capabilities.

Cobra will lead the project, which is partially funded with £320,000 by Innovate UK as part of the organisation's ongoing support for regenerative medicine and cell therapy development.

AAV vectors are currently a popular delivery vehicle for a large number of gene therapy treatments because they are safe and effective. However, the advancement of these therapies into clinical trials is currently hampered by the time and expense required to manufacture the DNA constructs used to generate the viral vectors.

This new collaboration will use a combination of Cobra and Touchlight’s strengths to evaluate a novel platform for the production of AAV vectors.

The collaboration will help to address expectations of the gene therapy and regenerative medicine community

Cobra brings to the project process development, GMP bioprocessing and quality assurance experience for plasmid DNA and viral vectors, as well as significant operational knowledge of large-scale manufacturing processes.

Touchlight will supply novel dbDNA constructs made using its proprietary enzymatic manufacturing process technology for the production of the AAV vectors. Touchlight’s technology is capable of generating large quantities of DNA and has the major advantage of being suitable for use with larger DNA inserts and gene sequences that are unstable in plasmid-based systems.

Streamlining the manufacturing of AAV vectors will enable the acceleration of more products into clinical testing, which in turn will increase the likelihood of AAV vector delivered treatments being developed for a wide range of currently intractable diseases.

Peter Coleman, CEO Cobra Biologics, said: 'For more than 15 years Cobra has been helping customers to manufacture their plasmid DNA and viral based medicines for gene therapy and regenerative medicine. In a rapidly growing sector pressure to save time and money in manufacturing is even more acute and the collaboration between Cobra and Touchlight will help to address expectations of the gene therapy and regenerative medicine community, their investors and patients.'

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