Author Archives: Millie Nelson

AI start-up explains why protein engineering (Bio)matters

BioProcess Insider spoke with Biomatter Designs founder and CEO Laurynas Karpus to discuss the Lithuanian-born start-up and its future. Founded in 2018, Biomatter Designs aims to shift the field of protein engineering by producing a platform for generative protein design for next-generation manufacturing and therapeutic applications. BioProcess Insider (BI): How would you describe Biomatter Designs? Laurynas Karpus (LK): Biomatter Designs is a biotech company striving to shift the paradigm in the field of protein engineering by developing a platform for…

UCB invests $221m to construct a gene therapy facility

UCB will construct a gene therapy and clinical manufacturing plant at its campus in Braine l’Alleud, Wallonia, Belgium. According to UCB, the evolution of the gene therapy space has altered how diseases are being treated but the production of viral vectors remains a consistent challenge because of the complex manufacturing process. Therefore, developing capabilities and flexible manufacturing is critical to succeeding in the gene therapy industry. To establish an end-to-end process, Belgium’s biggest drug maker has decided to invest more…

Cytiva pumps further $47m into Welsh single-use site

Cytiva is opening a facility in Cardiff, Wales to produce single-use bioprocessing technologies on the back of global demand. The 11,000 m² Cardiff facility is part of the $1.5 billion investment announced in July 2021 to expand manufacturing capacity for life sciences products at thirteen Danaher Corporation sites run by Cytiva and Pall to meet customer demand. Over two years, the company will invest £36 million ($47m) into the expansion at the Cardiff site, which has already begun to make flow…

Evonetix hits milestone in development of DNA synthesis

Synthetic biology company Evonetix has achieved enzymatic DNA synthesis capability with its thermally controlled synthesis chemistry, allowing the production of scarless DNA sequences. Evonetix is aiming to bring semiconductor technology to DNA synthesis and claims it has achieved enzymatic DNA synthesis through its thermally controlled synthesis chemistry, which is part of a three-year development program supported by Innovated UK and Durham University. The firm said the results demonstrate that its semiconductor array-based platform is compatible with enzymatic and chemical DNA…

IDT Biologika and Exothera team on viral vaccine manufacturing

The partnership will see IDT Biologika and Exothera collaborate to develop a large-scale manufacturing process for viral vector-based vaccines. According to both contract development manufacturing organizations (CDMOs), the study will focus on Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) as a first example for IDT’s wide range of vector technologies. “The MVA is a viral vector that has been successfully validated with a long history of use in clinical trials. MVA expressing recombinant antigens is a flexible vaccine tool that has been shown…

Moderna picks Kenya for mRNA facility

Moderna has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of the Republic of Kenya to establish Kenya as the location for its mRNA plant. Moderna announced the $500 million investment in October 2021 but did not disclose where the messenger RNA (mRNA) manufacturing facility would be built. Now, with the assistance of the US Government, the firm has entered into a MoU to confirm that the facility will be located in Kenya. The aim of the facility…

VR training can help meet industry demand, says CGT Catapult

CGT Catapult has started to include virtual reality (VR) training across the entirety of its skills development programs to meet demands of the industry.  Workforce development opportunities are a focal point in the pharma space as there is a general consensus among professionals that the amount of talent coming through the ranks does not match the huge investment in capacity being seen across the life sciences industry.   With many roles requiring highly skilled workers, training programs are being altered and updated to…

Canada approves plant-based COVID-19 vax

Health Canada has granted authorization for Covifenz, a plant-based COVID-19 vaccine developed by Medicago and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Covifenz is made up of plant-based virus-like particles (VLP) and aims to prevent COVID-19 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in individuals between the ages of 18 to 64 years old. Medicago uses its Proficia technology to synthesize the virus’ code once a virus has been genetically sequenced. In doing so, the firm claims its genetic instructions can then be…

ConserV receives UK Aid funding for pan-coronavirus candidate

ConserV Bioscience has been awarded £415,000 ($556,000) by UK Aid funding to drive development of a coronavirus vaccine immune to variants, UNICOR-v. The firm claims UNICOR-v could possibly protect people against future epidemics caused by a coronavirus spreading from animals to human, as well as new variants that could emerge from SARS-Cov-2 without needing a frequent booster. UNICOR-v consists of twelve antigens from conserved regions, which includes clusters of reactive T-cell epitopes for various human leukocyte antigens (HLAs). It aims…

FDA approves J&J’s myeloma cell therapy

The US FDA has approved a CAR-T therapy developed by Johnson & Johnson and its partner Legend Biotech to treat white blood cell cancer. J&J division Janssen Biotech entered the cell and gene therapy space in 2017, teaming up with Legend Biotech for the development of Carvykti ( ciltacabtagene autoleucel; ciltacel), a chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy that specifically targets the B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) and is known as LCAR-B38M in China. Now, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has…