Quantoom and eTheRNA to build RNA production system

Quantoom and eTheRNA have partnered to build RNA technology, which aims to produce affordable RNA-based therapies for distribution in 2023.  

Under the terms of the agreement, eTheRNA will provide Quantoom Biosciences, a Univercells company, with all required material and data for the development of an RNA production system (RPS) in Belgium.

The system aims to reduce cost through optimized processes and automation.

Image: iStock/oatawa

Once the RPS is developed, Quantoom will be responsible for its global commercialization and both firms expect international sales distribution to begin in 2023.

The advantage of the RPS lays “in the small footprint, the automation and the modularity, linked with a full scalability of the system for the production of small scale R&D batches to large scale commercial batches,” Senior VP of manufacturing and chief operating officer, Bernard Sagaert told BioProcess Insider.

The RPS must be located inside a clean room including an uninterrupted utility supply but differs from existing RNA manufacturing facilities as it will produce small modular units making it easier to be distributed across different regions.

COVID-19 catalyst

The coronavirus pandemic flung messenger RNA (mRNA) into the spotlight with BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna becoming household names with their respective COVID-19 vaccines.

Sagaert said “the pandemic has definitely triggered this cooperation but the development of the RPS is not necessarily for COVID-19 RNA manufacturing.”

He added, “RNA and RNA platforms will be used a lot broader than just infectious diseases, but users will definitely be able to manufacture vaccines with it.”

Sales-related royalties will be payable to eTheRNA but “each party is covering their own expenses,” Sagaert told us.

“Typically, this covers costs related with process and quality control, for Quantoom the cost is related with the transfer of the process into an automated process and equipment design and build. Further details are not disclosed.”