VTU Technology and Minapharm Pharmaceuticals entered into a licensing agreement to develop a therapeutic, recombinant human serum albumin (rHSA). Under the terms of the deal, VTU Technology is granting Minapharm access to its Pichia pastoris (yeast) protein expression technology for rHSA production.

VTU will apply its process for expression strain development and bioprocess optimization for biopharmaceutical production. Minapharm (via its subsidiary, Rhein-Minapharm-Biogenetics) will carry out the pertinent process R&D, production, and commercialization of the target therapeutic protein.

Minapharm will exclusively market the product in Egypt with options for other Middle Eastern countries, while VTU will have promotional rights in the rest of the world. Both companies will also share the revenue from the product.

VTU has recently formed collaborations around its Pichia platform with other firms. In September, VTU forged a partnership with DNA2.0 to develop and refine a gene design algorithm to enable maximized protein production in the yeast. The collaboration combined VTU’s P. pastoris expertise and AOX1 promoter technology with DNA2.0’s gene design technology for translation. Also, in June, Almac and VTU teamed up to provide joint services for the expression of recombinant proteins with site-specific modifications and labeling, including PEGylation. The integrated service platform combines VTU’s yeast-expression platform with Almac’s platform for site-specific C-terminal modification of proteins.

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