In preparation for the Optimizing Cell Line Performance Summit (July 26th-28th London), the show's Program Director, Jodie Cohen sat down to interview Dr Christopher Frye, Group Leader - Molecular and Cellular Biology at Eli Lilly. The interview explores Frye's views on trends in cell engineering and the impact he expects from the recent announcement that the CHO genome has been sequenced.
Dr Frye says that one of the biggest challenges for the industry is to develop therapeutic proteins in as efficient and cost effective manner as possible. And, in moving past the ability to produce "platform proteins", e.g. monoclonal antibodies, there will be a growing need to develop tools to impact not only productivity but product quality profiles of these molecules, especially when moving into non-mAbs and in support of biosimilars.
To that extent, the sequencing of the CHO genome will provide the information to rapidly develop and appropriately target the tools required to impact product quality. New tools will allow for the manipulation of the CHO genome. With the sequence, we now are developing the ability to leverage the sequence data in CHO that is starting to compare with our abilities to to manipulate microbial genomes. Technologies like zinc finger nucleases -- allow us to specifically insert, delete or modify CHO genes to impact productivity and product quality.
ZFN technology will also allow us to develop the next major advance in CHO cell engineering -- targeted integration. Targeted integration allows one to insert a recombinant protein gene of interest into a selected site or "hot spot" -- rather than by random integration at one or multiple sites -- to improve clone consistency and the consistency of the resulting productivity and protein quality. It will cut variability and make the process more regulatory friendly. Ultimately it results in a more controlled manufacturing process and consistent drug product at lower cost.
As written about here before, SAFC holds exclusive rights to ZFN technology for CHO cell engineering under license from Sangamo and is offering the technology to many users within the biopharm space. SAFC sells ZFNs to allow customers to manipulate their own production lines, offers a service to create ZFN altered cell lines under contract, and also is now selling CHO cell lines with specific genes like dhfr and GS that have been knocked out as production ready cell lines. Targeted Integration for CHO is next.
See the full interview Download Frye Lilly interview here.
Posted by Bruce Lehr June 1st 2011.