New partnership to support development of gene therapy

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GE Healthcare Life Sciences and the Sydney-based Children’s Medical Research Institute have announced a collaboration to drive the development of new affinity ligands for the purification of adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors used in gene therapies.

They said the focus of the collaboration is to bring to market-specific ligands for multiple AAV types, enhancing the chromatographic separation of AAV-based vectors.

"This will improve the manufacturing efficiency and scalability of gene therapies, enabling the availability of viral vectors on a global scale," said GE Healthcare Life Sciences in a statement.

With more than 800 gene therapies currently in clinical trials, there is an increasing demand for the raw materials needed in the manufacturing process of viral vectors.

AAVs are viral vectors used in more than 70 per cent of the in vivo gene therapy clinical trials. According to GlobalData, the 2025 gene therapy in vivo therapeutic market is expected to reach US$32 billion with an estimated average growth rate of 105 per cent between 2019 and 2025.

Children’s Medical Research Institute will share AAV capsid variants targeting different tissues with GE Healthcare Life Sciences. GE Healthcare Life Sciences will then design and test ligand prototypes, which Children’s Medical Research Institute will assess.

Based on the performance results, GE Healthcare Life Sciences will manufacture and commercialise novel improved AAV affinity ligands.

According to Dr Leszek Lisowski, lead gene therapy scientist at Children’s Medical Research Institute, “Bringing the fruits of our work to the patients requires a joint effort between academia and the industry. The collaboration with GE Healthcare Life Sciences will allow us to expedite the development of novel clinical options at a lower cost.”

Olivier Loeillot, General Manager, Bioprocess at GE Healthcare Life Sciences, said, “The industry needs better and more personalized technologies to speed biopharmaceuticals through clinical trials and bring them to market. Our long biomanufacturing expertise combined with Children’s Medical Research Institute’s pioneering research will lead to purification technologies that will streamline the production of gene therapies.”

Catarina Flyborg, General Manager, Cell and Gene Therapy at GE Healthcare Life Sciences, added, “Collaborations with organizations such as Children’s Medical Research Institute are critical to developing the technologies needed to move the industry forward. By working directly with the world-class researchers, GE Healthcare Life Sciences can develop the purification technologies that will contribute to increase the availability of viral vectors globally.”

Children’s Medical Research Institute in Australia is globally recognized for its work on microsurgery, cancer research, neurobiology, embryology and gene therapy.

The AAV affinity ligands resulting from the collaboration will be compatible with GE Healthcare Life Sciences’ resin-based chromatography portfolio used in the purification of most FDA-approved biopharmaceuticals.