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Wacker adds half-life boosting tech to biologics offering

By Gareth Macdonald , 05-Nov-2012
Last updated on 05-Nov-2012 at 15:45 GMT

Wacker Biotech has added a low cost PEGytlation alternative to its biopharmaceutical manufacturing offering in a deal with developer XL-protein.

The agreement will see Wacker combine the PASylation system – which replaces the poly-ethylene glycol (PEG) chains used to extend half-life in PEGylation with amino acid polymers – with its own E.coli-based protein and antibody manufacturing platform, ESETEC.

Wacker spokeswoman Nadine Baumgartl told in-Pharmatechnologist.com that: “PASylation is a very interesting, very innovative approach to increasing half-life that works well to produce large proteins” citing the efficiencies achieved during the production of a test batch of PASylated human growth hormone as an example of what can be done.

According to Baumgartl the recently completed feasibility study demonstrated that not only could the half-life of human growth hormone be significantly extended by attaching a 600 amino-acid long sequence consisting of proline, alanine and serine but that the properly-folded molecule could be produced using the ESETEC platform at yields of 3g to 4g/litre.

She went on to explain that the plan is to manufacture PASylated proteins for preclinical research and clinical development at Wacker’s production facility in Jena, Germany.

Wacker Biotech’s parent company Wacker Chemie AG began building its custom biologics manufacturing business in 2005 with the acquisition of ProThera in a deal that gave it both the facility and a high cell density biomanufacturing system.

Since then the German chemicals firm has made a number of other biologics-focused investments, spending €22m to expand laboratory, manufacturing and processing capacity at the Jena site in 2007  in a project that was completed in 2010.

Expansion in SE Asia

In other news Wacker has expanded its collaboration with Swiss market expansion services firm DKSH in Southeast Asia.

The new deal –terms of which were not disclosed – will see the German firm transfer local marketing responsibility for pyrogenic silicas and ‘functionalised’ silicones, which are used in pharmaceutical, personal care and food products, to DKSH.

Wacker made DKSH responsible for selling cyclodextrins, cystine and cysteine in the region last month.

Jurgen Frisch, head of distribution management at Wacker, said: “The markets in Southeast Asia are experiencing dynamic growth and becoming more and more important to us.”

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