The three-year partnership will carry out research and identify new tools and methods to modify and enhance the Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell line performance.

Cell lines are said to serve as a single component to produce biopharmaceuticals, as they set limits for the product yield and quality resulting from a biomanufacturing run.
CHO cell lines, which are commonly used as hosts for industrial production of therapeutic proteins, have been not preferred in the industry as the technical support is limited and regulatory environment is demanding.

With the introduction of new gene editing and analytical tools, the firms can explore how cells behave and respond to different process conditions, and develop improved starter cell lines accordingly.

The collaboration intends to reduce the need for clone screening, recognize suitable tools for cell line engineering and gather more information about cellular mechanisms to determine cell line efficiency.

The partnership will focus on carrying out basic research in this area in the first phase, while pre-engineered host cell line library will be created in the long-term.

Biopharma producers can select the most suitable cell line from the library to use in the production of any specific biopharmaceutical with speed and quality.

BOKU University professor, acib area leader and project incharge Nicole Borth said: “With the new analytical tools that genome sequence information along with different –omics technologies (such as transcriptomics) provide, we begin to understand precisely how cellular performance is regulated and how it works in detail.”

GE Healthcare Life Sciences upstream and cell culture general manager Morgan Norris said: “While the biopharma industry is growing quickly, lack of access to biologic drugs is commonplace in many countries partly due to the complex and time-consuming production methods.”

Image: The partnership seeks to recognize suitable tools for cell line engineering. Photo: courtesy of General Electric.