DSM’s microbial fermentation CMO business, DSM BioSolutions, inked a deal with PolyTherics for the process development and manufacture of the latter’s preclinical-stage HiPEG™ IFN α-2a. DSM has already started development, scale-up, and manufacture of the recombinant his-tagged IFN α-2a, PolyTherics says. The firm will also transfer its HiPEG PEGylation method to DSM to facilitate scale-up.
PolyTherics claims application of its HiPEG site-specific PEGylation technology to interferon alpha has resulted in a product demonstrating eightfold higher activity than a marketed product in vitro, with a comparable half-life. The HiPEG technology specifically attaches the poly(ethylene) glycol to a histidine tag at the N-terminal end of the protein. The firm is currently seeking partners for development of the HiPEG IFN α-2a product for hepatitis C.
PolyTherics is exploiting its PEGylation technologies both through the development of new products in house and through collaborations. The firm’s internal pipeline also includes a PEGylated IFN β-1b which it claims has been shown to demonstrate a lower propensity to aggregate, leading to improved stability.
2010 has been a busy year for PolyTherics. Last month the firm moved to larger premises at the London BioScience Innovation Centre, in order to benefit from additional laboratory space. In June PolyTherics was awarded a £105,000 U.K. Technology Strategy Board grant to fund a project dedicated to generating fusion proteins using its chemical linker technologies. During March PolyTherics announced a research collaboration with Danish firm Zealand Pharma focused on combining PolyTherics’ PEGylation expertise with a number of Zealand’s peptide-based therapeutic candidates. This project is being funded through the EU’s EUREKA Eurostars program. The year started with PolyTherics signing an agreement with Celtic Pharma Holdings for a collaboration with Celtic’s subsidiary Cantab BioPharmaceuticals focused on developing a new biopharmaceutical molecule..