The University of Manchester and Cobra Biologics, biologics and pharmaceuticals manufacturer, have been awarded €296.4K by Innovate UK and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The project is one of the only 23 which will share almost €27.3M given away by the competition that intends to bring innovative biotechnology projects to market.

The joint project, PeriTune, is to develop a protein expression optimization platform for the robust production of biologics. This platform will enable key bottlenecks and manufacturability challenges of recombinant proteins used in both biopharmaceutical medicines and industrial biotechnology to be addressed.

The platform will utilize the tunable gene expression control technology RiboTite, developed at the University of Manchester, coupled with the expertise in bioprocessing scale up at Cobra Biologics. At high levels of recombinant protein overexpression the secretion pathways can become overloaded, affecting cell viability. However, the RiboTite technology operates at the level of translation initiation and permits cellular-level tunable control of gene expression. This ability will be used to match expression to the periplasmic secretion capabilities of Escherichia coli production cells. This way, the PeriTune project will allow Cobra Biologics to investigate the use of the RiboTite technology in controlling levels of secreted protein production in E. coli, and also the manufacturing robustness of the system during fermentation scale up.

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Dr. Neil Dixon, researcher at the University of Manchester, commented: “We are very pleased that this funding will enable us to collaborate with Cobra Biologics and support the on-going translation of our research into industry. We believe the technology platform could make a significant impact on issues involved in the production of biopharmaceutical medicines and other Industrial Biotechnology products, which in turn would reduce manufacturing costs and enable de-risking of early product development projects.

This information is yet another example of the great job that the BBSRC is doing to further enhance scientific knowledge, supporting research in universities and institutes, after the promotion of synthetic biology in UK we talked about a few days ago.

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