Biogen partners with Gingko to develop gene therapy platform

Biogen will use Gingko Bioworks’ mammalian cell programming platform to help advance its AAV-based vector manufacturing.

Under the terms of the agreement, Gingko will provide Biogen with access to its cell programming capabilities and platform.

Gingko will use its bioengineering resources and biomanufacturing space to enhance Biogen’s AAV production titers in its gene therapy manufacturing processes.

Image: iStock/metamorworks

Biogen will pay $5 million upfront, but Gingko has the potential to receive $115 million depending on research, development, and commercial milestones.

Biogen says that while AAV-based vectors carry the potential to treat different conditions and are used widely across the industry to develop gene therapies, the current manufacturing process is time-consuming and expensive, which makes it problematic to develop therapies for diseases that have large patient populations and require a high dose.

According to Biogen, Gingko will attempt to solve this challenge by using its mammalian cell programming platform (Bioworks4) to improve the efficacy of AAV-producing plasmid vectors and cell lines. In turn, potentially advancing Biogen’s novel gene therapies.

“The goal of this collaboration is to redefine the industry standard for manufacturing recombinant AAV-based vectors by developing a next-generation AAV production platform,” a spokeswoman for Gingko told us.

“Ginkgo’s unique combination of cell programming expertise, proprietary tools and knowledge of biological systems provides the ability to explore a large number of design ideas with the goal of optimizing constructs.”

This deal comes less than two weeks after Gingko Bioworks added large-scale protein capabilities outside the US through its acquisition of fungal platform technology firm Dutch DNA.