In October 2009, Sigma-Aldrich acquired greater technical and commercial rights to more fully utilize ZFN technology to its full potential. In my area of responsibility, we picked up the ability to deliver products and services, and to negotiate licensing rights with our customers to use ZFNs to create better cell lines for the commercial production of bio-pharmaceuticals.
Our customers can now access this technology through several means. Firstly, customers may request that we create a custom ZFN for them for the gene of their choosing via our CompoZr website. This allows the user to then manipulate a cell line in their own house using the custom designed ZFN from Sigma-Aldrich. Thus changes can be made to an existing platform line as desired while concommitant use rights can be obtained via license.
Secondly, customers may request that our Custom Cell Engineering Services group (CCES) create a cell line with a specific gene alteration(s) - knock outs, knock ins, or modifications - under a service contract. In these circumstances, our CCES team will submit you a project plan, timeline and costs for delivering your request - typically in 16-18 week time frame. The CCES team will project manage the relationship and project and will meet regularly with your internal project manager to keep you fully informed as to the project's progress until we reach a successful conclusion.
Finally, to exploit the technology commercially, our customers will need to negotiate a commercial license. We now have a dedicated team to engage our customers in these discussions - both at a very deep level of technical detail as required and to handle negotiation of final commercial terms. At a high level, licenses are milestone based and require no royalty payments. Negotiations are obviously customized to your specific situation and payment streams can be modified according to your needs with regard to timing of cash outlays or your risk tolerance for example. We are in the process of engaging an initial round of customers in active discussions today and if you have an interest in learning more about this technology for commercial drug manufacturing - I urge you to make contact with me.
Posted by Bruce Lehr March 1, 2010.