The Hannover Medical School (MHH) and Rentschler Biotechnologie GmbH have signed a licensing agreement for the commercialization of a vector system for gene therapy that promises significant therapeutic and economic advantages over conventional technologies. Rentschler, an experienced specialist in the development of cell culture-based manufacturing processes and the production of relevant biopharmaceuticals, attains the right to develop packaging cell lines containing the novel vector and to use these commercially for the contract manufacturing of gene therapeutics.
Scientists at the MHH previously showed that the vector system can be flexibly adapted to various applications and is produced efficiently in cell lines normally used in the production of biopharmaceuticals. Ascenion, the MHH’s exclusive technology transfer partner, facilitated the commercialization of the invention, from the patent application to forging the cooperation and negotiating the licensing agreement.
The MHH vector represents an advancement over conventional vector systems, whose therapeutic efficacy has already been established in many indications. “We have created a new platform with broad applications in gene therapy that offers improved safety to patients and increased cost-effectiveness to developers and healthcare systems,” says Prof. Christopher Baum, Director of the Institute for Experimental Haematology at the MHH. Prof. Baum developed the vector system together with his colleagues Dr Julia Sürth and Dr Dr Axel Schambach, supported in part by funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Cluster of Excellence REBIRTH (from Regenerative Biology to Reconstructive Therapy).
The main areas of application range from introducing therapeutic genes into blood stem cells and lymphocytes in order to correct congenital defects, to improving cellular immunity in cancer and HIV infection. Further cell types and diseases are also being targeted using the new vector system.
Prof. Roland Wagner, Senior Vice President Development at Rentschler Biotechnologie GmbH, emphasizes: “The new vector system complements our spectrum for the development of virus-based biologics used in gene therapy and virotherapy, which, beside Rentschler’s own AAV vector technology, will be made available to our clients for the development of these products.” Rentschler is currently financing further research at the MHH on highly efficient and stable packaging cell lines for retroviral vectors.
Ascenion will continue to assist with the project. “We are delighted that the research findings from the MHH have been developed to the benefit of patients,” commented Dr Christian Stein, Ascenion’s CEO. “The partners complement each other perfectly: the MHH contributes its innovative technology and proximity to patients, and Rentschler contributes its longstanding experience in the production of biopharmaceuticals and its tight industry network.”
Further information at www.ascenion.de
About the Hannover Medical School (MHH)
Hannover Medical School (MHH), founded in 1965, is one of Germany's leading universities in research, patient care and teaching. With its concentrated support of specialised research areas, it has become one of the best university clinics in the country. The outstanding research conducted at Germany's only institution of higher education exclusively devoted to medicine has been clearly recognised within the framework of the Excellence Initiative supported by the federal and state governments.
Further information at www.mh-hannover.de
Rentschler Biotechnologie GmbH is a global full-service contract manufacturer with more than 35 years’ experience in the development, production and approval of biopharmaceuticals in compliance with international GMP standards (EMA/FDA). Rentschler has nine GMP suites with volumes of 30, 50, 250, 500, 1000 and 2500 liters, allowing the production of material for clinical trials (Phases I to III) and for market supply, and also provides regulatory advice, protein analytics, quality control, and the sterile filling of syringes and injection vials. The company is family-owned and independent and has currently about 650 employees.
Further information at www.rentschler.de
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