Biological molecules are increasingly important as therapeutic agents, for example antibody-drug conjugates, but difficulties in production to the required amounts and quality remains a barrier. UK and Netherlands SMEs have technologies that may act synergistically to overcome this barrier. They want to examine this using antibody drug conjugates as a test case in a Eurostars proposal and are looking for a partner with expertise in antibody-drug conjugates under a research cooperation agreement.
Biological molecules and biosimilars such as proteins, peptides and antibodies are increasingly used as therapeutics. However, these entities are difficult to produce in large enough quantities of a high enough quality for clinical use. Many are manufactured using bacteria, which generates large quantities but creates problems in terms of the quality of the produced protein leading to side effects or loss of activity. Use of mammalian cell line cultures generates these entities at a higher quality but these techniques does not generate large amounts. These issues make biological molecules technically difficult and therefore expensive so limiting their clinical use.
A UK-based SME has developed a vector technology that enables the generation of difficult biological molecules and biosimilars in stable mammalian cell lines that results in a 200 times greater yield than current standard techniques by improving expression of the inserted DNA for the required biological molecule.
A Netherlands-based SME has a technology that also improves the generation of biological molecules. Their technology focuses on a different stage of the protein production process by boosting levels of translation of the genetic material for the biological molecule into the protein / peptide.
There is potential for these technologies to show synergistic effects and so dramatically boost the level and quality of the biological molecules generated. This would enable more complicated biological molecules to be generated at the higher volumes and better quality required to bring down costs and make more of these therapeutics available. This would especially be the case for antibody-drug conjugates due to the high cost of production of these entities and their therapeutic potential in multiple areas.
The two companies are looking to explore this through a Eurostars proposal and are looking for a company with expertise in antibody-drug conjugate generation to join the consortium. This will enable the premise that the synergistic use of these technologies will lead to improved performance at a lower cost to be examined in a well-known test case. This partnership will be in the form of a research cooperation agreement.
Deadline for EOIs: 2nd August 2019
Deadline for call: 12th September 2019
- Specific area of activity of the partner: The UK and Netherlands SMEs are looking for a partner to join their Eurostars consortium that has expertise in antibody drug conjugates. They would want this partner to provide knowledge and practical expertise in terms of linking the biologics produced by the new methodology into an antibody drug conjugate and measure its effectiveness and toxicity compared to standard controls. This partner can come from industry or academia / research. The partnership will be in the form of a research cooperation agreement.
Evaluation scheme: Single Stage
Coordinator required: No
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