CMO Cobra Biologics formed a strategic alliance with QuiaPEG Pharmaceuticals that will zero in on the processing of biological drugs to increase half-life and reduce production costs by using a new PEGylation technology platform.

There is extensive scientific and commercial interest in specialist PEGylation technologies and improving present manufacturing methodologies as the cost of biopharma production continues to rise, according to Peter Coleman, CEO of Cobra Biologics. “We have seen a significant increase in enquiries for PEGylation services and look forward to working with QuiaPEG and their innovative PEGylation technology to meet the needs of our customers,” he said, adding that the deal will mean that customers will have access to a technology platform for early drug development, for life-cycle management, and for the improvement of existing drugs (biobetters).

PEGylation is the modification of a protein, peptide or nonpeptide molecule by linking polyethylene glycol (PEG) chains to extend a drug’s effect by reducing degradation, and reducing the rate of excretion by the kidneys and the formation of antibodies against the protein. PEGylation plays a key role in modern drug delivery, maximizing the potential of the therapeutic substance, explained Julian Hanak, Cobra’s commercial director.

“QuiaPEG and Cobra are natural partners,” he continued. “Cobra’s service portfolio is expanded further into protein modification/conjugation and related aspects of formulation development by the collaboration with QuiaPEG, which benefits from Cobra’s protein manufacturing, analytical, and process development expertise for their own products. Cobra’s customers benefit from the new services offered by Cobra and the access to the superior PEGylation expertise at QuiaPEG.”

Hanak emphasized that the new PEGylation technology has six features not provided by traditional approaches: The functional group (for PEG binding to a protein) can be introduced to PEG in a single reaction; the chemistry allows easy separation of reagents and final PEG-protein conjugate products; minimal methodological diversity in the chemistry for the production of several PEG variants facilitates standardization; optimal reaction yield is achieved, little protein is wasted; there is the potential to reduce unwanted immunogenic effects using this alternative chemistry to PEGylate proteins; and reaction time is short.

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