Hoba (cell) banks on Selexis to advance neuropathic pain program

Selexis will use its SUREtechnology platform to develop a research cell bank to help advance Hoba Therapeutic’s neuropathic pain candidate HB-086.

The Danish firm Hoba Therapeutics has selected cell line development firm Selexis to help express viable levels of its clinical candidate HB-086 (recombinant human Meteorin) in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. The candidate is a 31 kD secreted protein that promotes neurite outgrowth and glial differentiation in the central nervous system.

“We do not have a conclusive scientific explanation why HB-086 is a difficult-to-express protein in CHO cells,” Marco Bocci, VP of Licensing and Business Development at Selexis, told BioProcess Insider.


“In standard CHO-K1 cells there may be some metabolic roadblocks. In preclinical research, Hoba successfully expressed the mouse version of HB-086 in CHO cells. However, Hoba was unable to express clinical and commercially viable levels of the human version of HB-086 using a number of different technologies.”

To service the deal – financials of which have not been disclosed – Selexis will use its SUREtechnology Platform, a technology which aims to improve the way that mammalian cells are used in the discovery, development, and manufacturing of any recombinant protein drug.

“We developed our SURE CHO-Mplus Libraries module to overcome expression issues in difficult-to-express proteins. By applying this module, we were able to successfully express viable amounts of HB-086,” said Bocci.

“In a proof-of-concept program, this technology allowed Selexis to quickly and effectively screen for a large number of pre-engineered CHO cell line hosts and identify the most suitable host cell line able to express viable amounts of HB-086.”

Selexis is currently developing high-expressing research cell banks (RCBs) from its laboratories in Geneva, Switzerland.

The end point of the collaboration is the tech transfer of a clonal research cells bank to Hoba’s contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), Bocci said. “Our accelerated RCB programs run as little as 14 weeks. Since this is a difficult-to-express program and we are still evaluating some additional libraries, this will run more than 14 weeks.”