Piers Scrimshaw-Wright, MD of The Oxford Science Park and Ryan Cawood, CEO, Oxford Genetics Ltd

Piers Scrimshaw-Wright, MD of The Oxford Science Park and Ryan Cawood, CEO, Oxford Genetics Ltd

A leading UK-based biotechnology company has been awarded a grant to develop packaging cell lines for virus bioproduction. Oxford Genetics, which develops DNA systems and bioproduction solutions, will work in collaboration with the University of Oxford to generate cell lines for the scalable manufacture of retrovirus and lentivirus vectors.

The $1 million programme will see the provider of synthetic biology solutions use its newly acquired facilities at the Oxford Science Park to extend its product and service offering into the virus manufacturing space.

Oxford Genetics CEO and founder, Dr Ryan Cawood, said: “Gene therapy is a personal passion of mine, it has huge potential, and is the reason I got into biology. This grant enables us to tackle one of the biggest bioproduction problems currently facing the industry; the challenge is similar to that faced by the antibody industry in the early 1990s and we hope our innovations will translate into lower cost of goods for patients and improved medicines for a wide range of serious conditions.”

Commenting on the grant, Leonard Seymour, Professor for Gene Therapy and founder of the British Society for Gene Therapy, said: “I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Oxford Genetics team for just over five years, having been involved since the business was formed. This grant will help us work even more closely together, and allow our two teams of scientists to foster new research ideas to solve the challenges of making viruses in large quantities. This is really an exciting opportunity for my research group and we are pleased to be a part of this innovative research programme.”

The programme will span 12 months and follows the recent announcements from Oxford Genetics that is has expanded its board to include several industry experts, acquired new state-of-the-art cell line development facilities, and received £2 million investment from Mercia Technologies. The business is now seeking early access partners working with therapeutic virus systems to allow scale-up validation of the systems it is developing.