Biotherapeutics are therapeutic molecules that are generated in batches of genetically engineered living cells used as biofactories to pump out desired proteins in maximum quantities. Treatments designed from lab-made versions of large proteins are now being used to treat cancers and autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis. Research now shows that these drugs might also do well against infectious diseases.
However, researchers from the cell design and engineering at the Austrian Center of Industrial Biotechnology (acib) in Vienna reckon making these targeted therapies is still a slow, inefficient and expensive process. In many countries, people who need them can’t afford them. Even in the U.S. and Europe, they quickly become too expensive for health systems as the number of patients and applications increase.
Scientists must get the cells to reproduce fast enough to fill large bioreactor tanks. As the process ends, they need to extract the right molecules from the protein soup and purify them. The whole process of arriving at an efficient production solution can easily last eight months.
To tackle this problem, the acib team and GE will work together for ways to make the cellular biofactories produce more of the targeted therapeutic proteins faster and with less effort being put into finding suitable cells. If their work is successful, the process will hopefully become more efficient, reliable and cheaper.