Leiden, 3 September 2019 – Today, Batavia Biosciences announced that the company has signed a license agreement to utilize Horizon Discovery’s GS knockout CHO K1 cell line expression system for the development of high yield antibody-expressing cell lines. Initially, Batavia will deploy the system for production of a potent Zika virus neutralizing antibody, working in collaboration with Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and IDBiologics, a company which focuses on developing human antibodies for the prevention, treatment and cure of infectious diseases.
The Zika virus neutralizing antibody was discovered three years ago by VUMC researchers in collaboration with colleagues at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The group reported isolation of a human monoclonal antibody that in a mouse model “markedly reduced” infection by the Zika virus. The VUMC antibody, dubbed ZIKV-117, binds to an epitope or “part of” the Zika virus in a way that no other antibody has to date.
“We’re excited to work with Batavia to move this promising Zika antibody therapy one step closer to the clinic,” stated James Crowe Jr, M.D., Director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center.
“Developing high yield antibody producer CHO lines is difficult and expensive,” added Robert Carnahan, Ph.D., Director of Vanderbilt Antibody and Protein Resource. “That is why this new solution is so important to the anti-Zika antibody project.”
The mosquito-borne Zika virus is believed to cause microcephaly (unusually small heads) and other congenital malformations in children born to infected women. Currently, there is no way to prevent Zika virus infection or its aftermath.
Menzo Havenga, CEO, Batavia Biosciences, explained: “We are thrilled to now have access to Horizon’s expression system to complement our existing STEP® technology for recombinant protein production and to have VUMC and IDBiologics as collaborators on the development of a much needed Zika virus medical countermeasure.”
Chuck Haines, CEO, IDBiologics commented: “We are looking forward with great anticipation to receiving the Zika virus antibody cell line from the VUMC-Batavia collaboration and continuing to advance this product to the clinic.”
Horizon licenses its CHO expression system to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and biosimilar companies, as well as contract manufacturing organizations. The system includes the GS knockout CHO K1 cell line, a comprehensive package of supporting documentation, and an expression vector supplied under license from DNATwoPointO, Inc.. Dirk Gewert, Business Unit Director, Horizon Discovery explained: “This proprietary solution has now been featured in a number of confirmed Investigational New Drug (IND) filings. This solution allows companies to move from the DNA sequence of their potential biotherapeutic to clinical manufacturing as simply and rapidly as possible. Both Horizon and Batavia are dedicated to ensure availability of key technologies that can improve affordability of medicines worldwide.”
About Batavia Biosciences
Batavia Biosciences significantly contributes to ease human suffering from infectious diseases by improving the success rate in the translation of candidate medicines from discovery to the clinic. We offer our novel technologies and in-depth know-how in order to help our partners to complete preclinical phases in biopharmaceutical product development at higher speed, reduced costs and increased success. The company focuses on the early stages of product development including cell line generation, upstream process development (mammalian & microbial), purification development, product characterization and clinical manufacturing. Headquartered in Leiden, the Netherlands, with a subsidiary in Woburn, Massachusetts, and offices in Hong Kong, Batavia Biosciences is privileged to have strong strategic partners worldwide.
About Horizon Discovery
Horizon Discovery Group plc (LSE: HZD) (“Horizon”) drives the application of gene editing and gene modulation within the global life science market – supporting scientists on the path from research to therapy.
Built upon more than a decade of experience in the engineering of cell lines, Horizon offers an unmatched portfolio of tools and services to help scientists gain a greater understanding of gene function, identify genetic drivers behind human disease, deliver biotherapeutics, cellular and gene therapies for precision medicine as well as develop and validate diagnostic workflows.
Horizon’s solutions enable almost any gene to be altered, or its function modulated, in human and other mammalian cell lines.
The Company’s customers include many of the world’s foremost academic institutes, global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as well as clinical diagnostic laboratories. Insight into the challenges faced by these organizations enables the company to focus efforts on development of innovative solutions that not only differentiate the company’s offering, but also fuel development of the next wave of precision medicines.
Horizon is headquartered in Cambridge, UK with offices in USA and Japan. The Group is listed on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market under the ticker HZD.
About Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is one of the United States leading academic medical centers and is home to the largest comprehensive health system in the state of Tennessee. Its core missions are the delivery of patient care, performing biomedical research and training future leaders in healthcare. VUMC, which is also home to the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, is one of the top 10 recipients in the U.S. in total research funding from the National Institutes of Health. In its most recent fiscal year, VUMC experienced more than 2.3 million patient encounters and provided $711 million in charity care and other community benefits to persons in Middle Tennessee. For more information and the latest news follow VUMC on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and in the VUMC Reporter.
IDBiologics develops biologics as therapies or preventative medicines to combat infectious diseases. IDBiologics is a biotech spin out from the laboratory of Dr. James Crowe of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). IDBiologics collaborates with the Crowe lab (Nashville, TN), one of the world’s leading monoclonal antibody discovery laboratories, to derive monoclonal antibodies from human donors, optimize their genetic sequence for enhanced performance and safety, and establish proof of concept in relevant animal models of disease. IDBiologics is currently working on preclinical development for three leading candidates addressing significant unmet needs including: Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Influenza virus (Flu), and Zika virus. IDBiologics is headquartered in Nashville, TN.
Contact for editors
Menzo Havenga, CEO