ARTES Biotechnology, specialised in recombinant protein production and process development from yeast expression systems, and Rhein Minapharm Biogenetics, a subsidiary of Minapharm SAE, jointly announced the successful production of a new target of a therapeutic protein. This was the first result of a long-term research collaboration that was signed in January 2008. Consequently, the two companies extended their collaboration in May 2009.
ARTES applied its proprietary Hansenula technology platform to this research collaboration and it also applied its know-how to the generation of a therapeutic protein chosen by Rhein Minapharm that is typically produced in E coli. Rhein Minapharms’s new target is now produced from the Hansenula polymorpha platform at considerable higher yields and at reduced costs compared with alternative bacterial or yeast systems. Due to these advantages, a number of products marketed worldwide – such as hepatitis B vaccine, insulin, interferon, hirudin and some feed and food enzymes – are nowadays manufactured with the Hansenula technology. Moreover, several others are in clinical trials in Europe and the US.
Under the terms of agreement ARTES handed over the production cell lines and received another milestone payment. Additionally, ARTES and Rhein Minapharm extended their collaboration aiming at additional targets for Minapharm’s portfolio. ARTES will be responsible for the generation of new production cell lines and will share the process research and development responsibility with Minapharm.
“Our long-term agreement is an important milestone in the existing relationship between our companies and we are really proud that our strain and process development work enables Rhein Minapharm to develop their innovative target pipeline and to save production costs,” said Dr Michael Piontek, founder and managing director of ARTES.
Dr Wafik Bardissi, chairman and CEO of Minapharm added:
“Together with ARTES we are creating a cross-functional R&D teamwork to further endow our pipeline with affordability and innovation, characteristic of Hansenula-derived proteins already in clinical practice and key market drivers of our emerging markets.”