Moss-based expression firm receives €60m in funding

German biotech Eleva has received funding to advance its candidate CPV-101, produced using a moss-based expression system.

Venture capitalist firm Zukunftshonds Heilbronn has invested up to €60 million ($73 million) in funding to progress drug candidate CPV-101 through the clinic. A spokesperson for Eleva told us “we are developing CPV-101 for kidney-associated complement diseases such as aHUS, IgA Nephropathy, PNH, C3G.”

The firm has developed a manufacturing process that produces biopharmaceuticals using moss called BryoTechnology.

Image: iStock/Svetlana Monyakova

Eleva told BioProcess Insider “fermentation is done in Sartorius STR single use fermenters with unmodified cell culture bags” and is done using established routines and equipment used commonly in mammalian cell-based production.

The company claims that BryoTechnology benefits “from the absence of animal derived components and human viruses […] and batch to batch stability.” Eleva added the manufacturing process is “very robust and stable (unsensitive to change in pH, temp and salt). The glycosylation pattern is very stable, also upon scale up and tech transfer we do not see any changes in the glycosylation pattern.”

Bjørn Voldborg, director of CHO cell line development at the Technical University of Denmark, previously discussed the problems that surround glycosylation at BPI Europe, telling delegates “if you have the wrong glycans the protein may actually trigger immune responses.”

Eleva said “where glycosylation is crucial for the mode of action or for the efficacy of the molecule [it is] especially suited for the production in moss.”

The benefits of moss

We have previously reported the limitations mammalian and bacterial cell lines have alongside documenting the growing interest in plant-derived alternatives.

Whatever system used, cells are engineered to produce the desired biologic drug substance in the highest yield and purity possible. Yet, with mammalian cell culture being notoriously expensive, plant-cells have become an alternative choice of platform due to their cost-effective expression system, free of animal proteins.

Eleva is not alone in its quest for plant-based substitutes, Sanofi’s deal with Dyadic showcased the demand for CHO alternatives. However, Eleva claims to be the only company using moss as an expression platform to make biologics.

“Moss produces complex molecules (proteins, enzymes, antibodies, metabolites…) with human-like glycosylation” the spokesperson told us, adding “antibodies produced in moss show >40-fold ADCC enhancement compared to antibodies produced in mammalian systems.”

When asked what advantages a moss-based system has over mammalian, microbial and other plant-based systems, Eleva said “moss combines the best of two worlds: it is a higher eukaryote same as mammalian cells and is haploid organism same as microbials.”

The firm added: “Contrary to other plant-based systems such as tobacco, moss has a haploid genome, making genetic engineering as easy as in microbials.”

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