New Platform Speeds Development of Cell and Gene Therapies
Oct 13 2020
Merck has bolstered its viral vector manufacturing capabilities with the launch of its VirusExpress™ Lentiviral Production Platform. This new platform helps to overcome lentiviral production challenges and can reduce process development time by approximately 40%, based on Merck’s experience as a contract development and manufacturing organisation.
“Cell and gene therapies offer the potential for curative treatments and are being developed and commercialised in half the time it has taken traditional therapies,” said Angela Myers, head of Gene Editing & Novel Modalities, Life Science, at Merck. “We are committed to accelerating manufacturing of cell and gene therapies with the ultimate goal of getting these lifesaving treatments to patients faster. By increasing dose yields and dramatically reducing process development time, this new platform will help us reach this goal.”
Using a suspension cell line rather than an adherent-based production, coupled with a chemically defined cell culture media and process with built-in scalability, Merck’s VirusExpress™ Platform meets multiple market needs. In addition to accelerating process development, the suspension culture format allows each batch of virus to be larger yielding more patient doses. Additionally, suspension culture is amenable to true scale-up, while being less labour-intensive. The chemically defined medium eliminates the safety, regulatory and supply chain concerns related to animal- and human-derived materials.
Merck’s VirusExpress™ Platform offers a simplified upstream workflow, making processes easier to manage, adjust and scale. Flexible licensing allows companies to manufacture vectors by using either Merck’s contract manufacturing capabilities, a third-party contract development and manufacturing organisation, or in-house development.
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