Boehringer Ingelheim and the contract research and development company VTU Technology said today they have renewed their more than four-year-old collaboration agreement giving the pharma giant access to VTU’s Pichia pastoris recombinant protein expression strains for development and manufacturing of therapeutic proteins.

The value of the renewed collaboration was not disclosed.

The collaboration will make use of VTU´s yield-enhancing Pichia pastoris expression platform. The platform is based on VTU’s AOX1 promoter libraries and set of expression enhancing helper factors, several platform strains with different genetic backgrounds, elaborated cloning and transformation protocols, a high-throughput screening & cultivation regime combined with know-how in fermentation and downstream process development.

VTU will be responsible for carrying out the joint development program in its facilities, in close collaboration with researchers from both companies. Boehringer Ingelheim opted to prolong its ongoing technology agreement with VTU to further strengthen Pichia´s position as a host for the production of biopharmaceuticals, the companies said.

“Together we established Pichia pastoris as [an] innovative platform for the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals,” said Georg Klima, executive director, process science, Austria at Boehringer Ingelheim, said in a statement. “With the renewal of our collaboration we will further expand our technological lead for Boehringer Ingelheim’s own development projects as well as for Boehringer Ingelheim BioXcellence™ customers globally.”

BioXcellence is the new brand for Boehringer Ingelheim’s biopharma contract development and manufacturing services. The company says BioXcellence can provide the entire production technology chain from DNA to fill and finish under one brand, through its facilities in Biberach, Germany; Vienna Austria; Fremont, CA; and Shanghai.

Back in 2010, BI and VTU inked a nonexclusive technology and marketing collaboration agreement. The collaboration was designed to offer customers access to Boehringer Ingelheim's clinical and commercial manufacturing technology along with VTU Technology's expertise in high-expression technologies and speed in strain development.

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