The market demand for recombinant proteins as therapeutics remains strong in recent years. The higher dosage requirement for antibody drugs has driven the need for efficient, high-titer processes which can dramatically reduce the cost of goods during manufacturing.
The Animal Cell Technology Group has developed Internal Ribosome Entry Site (IRES)-mediated mammalian expression vectors to facilitate the fast and efficient development of stable cell lines that can produce monoclonal antibodies and other recombinant proteins at high titers.
To further improve protein productivity and product yields, chemically defined protein-free media and optimized feeding strategies for recombinant therapeutic protein production using Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) and other mammalian cell lines have also been established. Using new technologies such as Metabolomics, intra- and extra-cellular metabolites will be tracked in high density cultures, which can guide media design for improved culture performance.
A bioreactor platform for Influenza virus production using Vero cells has been established to study cell-based processes for the manufacturing of viral vaccines. Microarray and proteomic analyses of high density fed-batch cultures has led to the identification of targets for cell engineering and the generation of anti apoptotic CHO Gene-Targeted (GT) cell lines with extended viabilities and increased recombinant protein titers.
To build on these efforts, genomic, proteomic and metabolomic profiling, as well as studies on microRNA regulation, will be used to identify gene, protein, metabolite and microRNA targets which are commonly expressed in high producer cell lines. These targets can be directed towards cell engineering and rapid cell screening applications.
The group also collaborates with the Stem Cells Group in the production of novel monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and cancer cell lines using mammalian systems; the Downstream Processing Group in the development of novel biomolecule purification technologies; as well as the Expression Engineering Group in the development of engineered cell lines.