Promoters for Expression in Mammalian Cells

Synpromics Ltd, a leading synthetic biology company, and The Cell Therapy Catapult, the UK organisation accelerating the growth of the UK cell and gene therapy industry by bridging the gap between scientific research and commercialisation, today announce the launch of a collaboration to remove a major barrier to the development of the cell and gene therapy industry by reducing the cost and increasing the scale and efficiency of viral vector manufacturing. The collaboration will use Synpromics' synthetic promoter design technology, and the Cell Therapy Catapult's flexible manufacturing platform to create stable producer cell lines for the high titre and large scale manufacture of viral vectors. The work will be part funded by a £2m grant from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

Viral vectors are a crucial tool needed to modify patient’s cells to create a therapeutic effect. Established manufacturing platforms are limited by laborious processes, a lack of automation and low yields. This restricts the utility of viral vectors for the treatment of diseases where large amounts of virus would be needed, and has to date confined their use to local applications such as in the eye and to less prevalent indications, including orphan diseases.

This project will use synthetic biology to develop novel and controllable gene-expression promoters to drive the production of a much higher level of viral vector yield from new stable cell lines. This will allow the industry to produce vectors to much higher titres and with more efficiency, removing the current constraints associated with plasmid transfection of anchorage dependent cell lines. The project will run for three years, and will be focused on developing prototype cell lines to deliver industry relevant viral vectors, including Retrovirus, and Adeno Associated Virus. Synpromics will be responsible for the expression platform development with the Cell Therapy Catapult responsible for process industrialisation and control.

“The Cell Therapy Catapult has extensive experience in developing cell and gene therapies for clinical trial and commercialisation. The collaboration between the Cell Therapy Catapult and Synpromics has brought together a number of complementary skills that will produce a solution to a big industrial challenge,” said Keith Thompson, CEO of the Cell Therapy Catapult.

Dr David Venables, CEO of Synpromics, said, “This will be the fifth major collaboration for Synpromics to apply our synthetic promoters in gene therapy. We believe Synpromics’ technology will provide a critically needed solution to high titre, industrial scale, vector manufacture, a critical barrier in the gene therapy industry. The result of this solution will be a major advance to the commercialisation of gene therapies in non-orphan drug indications.” About the Cell Therapy Catapult

The Cell Therapy Catapult was established in 2012 as an independent centre of excellence to advance the growth of the UK cell and gene therapy industry, by bridging the gap between scientific research and full-scale commercialisation. With more than 100 employees focusing on cell and gene therapy technologies, we work with our partners in academia and industry to ensure these life-changing therapies can be developed for use in health services throughout the world. We offer leading-edge capability, technology and innovation to enable companies to take products into clinical trials and provide clinical, process development, manufacturing, regulatory, health economics and market access expertise. We aim to make the UK the most compelling and logical choice for UK and international partners to develop and commercialise these advanced therapies. Regenerative medicine is one of the UK government’s eight great technologies that support UK science strengths and business capabilities. The Cell Therapy Catapult works with Innovate UK. For more information go to Catapult or visit Innovate UK.

About Synpromics

Synpromics is a privately backed synthetic biology company, based in Edinburgh, UK, focused on commercialising its proprietary technology in the emerging field of synthetic biology, one of the UK government’s eight great technologies. In August 2015, Synpromics announced a £2.1million investment round led by Calculus Capital, a specialist in Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) funds. Synpromics' proprietary, patent pending, technology for the design and development of synthetic promoters gives biological researchers, developers and manufacturers unprecedented control of gene expression through the ability to create a comprehensive portfolio of man-made promoters, designed to regulate genes in a highly specific manner. These promoters have wide applicability across the biotechnology industry and, specifically in gene therapy products, enable the controlled expression of the gene of interest only in the target cell type and at the desired strength. Synpromics is also working on several other fields of use, including biotherapeutic protein production; DNA vaccines; enhanced functionality of cell therapies; improved efficiencies in industrial bioprocesses. For more information please visit http://www.synpromics.com.

For further enquiries please contact

Synpromics PR Contact:
Deborah Cockerill
Sciad Communications
Tel: +44 (0)20 3773 9580
Deborah@Sciad.com

Synpromics Corporate Contact:
Dr David Venables
Chief Executive Officer Synpromics Ltd
Tel: +44 (0)7825 323439
David.Venables@Synpromics.com

Cell Therapy Catapult PR Contact:
Neil Hunter / Michelle Boxall
Tel +44 (0)20 8943 4685
neil.hunter@ct.catapult.org.uk
https://ct.catapult.org.uk