Crucell and DSM will further expand the development of its PER.C6 protein and monoclonal antibody licensing business by establishing joint R&D centres on the US East Coast and in the Netherlands.
The two companies will create an integrated production package for manufacturing recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies using PER.C6 technology in order to accelerate the development and roll-out of the PER.C6 technology in the market.
The production package will include optimized clone generation technology, tailored media, batch, fed-batch and perfusion fermentation processes, fermentation equipment design, scale-up and scale-down solutions and regulatory support.
"The protein market is growing rapidly and may reach $200 billion in 15 to 20 years, and we believe that PER.C6 has the potential to become the technology of choice for an attractive part of that market," said Leendert Staal, president of >DSM pharmaceutical products.
"We strongly believe that the intensification of our efforts will allow us to capture significant market share with the PER.C6 licensing business," said Ronald Brus, >Crucell CEO.
Crucell's novel PER.C6 technology uses cell culture for the large-scale production of recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies, including influenza vaccine, where the virus is grown on specially selected cell lines instead of chicken eggs.
The strengths of the PER.C6 technology lie in its safety profile, scalability and productivity under serum-free culture conditions. This cell culture process has the potential to reduce from four weeks to two or three weeks the start-up time for manufacturing and could result in a more predictable manufacturing process.
To date, Crucell and DSM have signed 20 PER.C6 licenses for production of various proteins, including licenses to companies with marketed proteins such as Merck, Roche, Ely Lilly/AME and J&J/Centocor.
The two companies now plan to expand their business in the US and Europe and have implemented a new strategy of partnering with other players with protein capability to develop and offer services for PER.C6 and provide flexibility for PER.C6 licensees to select their service provider.