Cobra Biologics Ltd, international CDMO of biologics and pharmaceuticals, and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), a UK-based technology innovation centre, are collaborating on a project that will focus on the development of an Industrial Manufacturing Platform for Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) production to support gene therapy and regenerative medicine.
The £1.8 million project, which is being led by Cobra, is being funded to a value of £1.4 million by Innovate UK via their 2015 competition for the development of regenerative medicines and cell therapies.
The project is one of five that, together, comprise an £8 million investment into collaborative R&D projects that address critical challenges faced by UK companies developing regenerative medicines and cell therapies as clinical treatments and commercial products.
The collaboration between Cobra and CPI will focus on AAV vectors which are safe and effective and are currently the delivery vehicle of choice for gene therapy treatments. However, the advancement of these therapies into clinical trials is currently hampered by the lack of robust scalability needed to manufacture AAV vectors.
The proposed collaboration between Cobra and CPI will develop in depth scientific and technical understanding to allow a scalable and flexible manufacturing process to be developed to produce, purify and characterize a range of AAV vectors. This will enable the acceleration of more potential products into clinical testing and, ultimately, new medicines. This in turn will increase the chances of treatments being developed for a whole range of currently intractable diseases.
Peter Coleman, CEO Cobra Biologics commented: “Cobra has been a leading organization in the development of the gene therapy sector for more than 15 years now through its plasmid DNA and viral service offerings. We have seen through our customers an extraordinary growth in new potential medicines being put forward that utilise viral vectors as part of their production, such as Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-Cell therapies. The collaboration between Cobra and CPI will help to address the need for a scalable AAV production process to meet the current and future needs of the gene therapy and regenerative medicine community in clinical trials and commercial supply.”
Dr Fergal O’Brien, Director of Biologics at CPI said: “CPI is delighted to be collaborating with Cobra Biologics Ltd and applying our expertise in developing scalable and industrial manufacturing platforms to AAV production. We see this project as a key enabler in meeting the current and future needs of the biologics industry and are delighted to be supporting a leading UK company in this sector.”