An article written by Angelo DePalma under same title appears in the latest issue of GEN. In it, I get the chance to pontificate a bit on the use of zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) technology by SAFC to create platform production cell lines in CHO.
As the article points out, SAFC can provide a willing customer the ZFNs to knock-in, knock-out or modify specific genes of interest in their cell line. Or, we can create a cell line for the customer using ZFNs on either a parental line of our choosing or the customer's preferred parental line.
Additionally, SAFC is working to create a platform cell line optimized with chemically-defined media and feeds, and a fed-batch bioreactor protocol for expressing recombinant proteins. Currently, we have dhfr and GS clones available for beta testing. Addtional cell lines will become available by the end of 2010.
The ultimate platform line will likely have stacked traits (i.e. more than one modification). For example, it may be GS modified and have modifications to glycosylation genes or apoptotic genes to confer properties of interest. Our current GS clones grow better in bioreactors and we can select clones without having to use MSX selection. This adds speed.
The article mentions that the platform will be of more interest to CMOs and 2nd tier biotechs, as well as biosimilar manufacturers. The first tier biotechs tend to have the internal resources to create their own platforms - but they do also have an interest in ZFN technology to help solve specific issues. We've worked with these type of clients to remove HCPs that co-purify with their target therapeutic, to remove endogenous viral sequences, to help reduce aggregation, to prevent reduction of mAbs, etc.
Top tier groups are also very interested in how ZFNs can be applied to targetted integration - especially within their platforms. In fact, this is a very hot area of inquiry for us right now. All of these applications represent good opportunities to advance cell engineering within the industry.
Posted by Bruce Lehr June 28th 2010.