On Wednesday, April 11th, SAFC announced the launch of the CHOZN cell platform system for biopharma producers to create and scale up high producing clones more quickly and easily. Here, SAFC Live speaks to Kevin Kayser, Associate Director of Cell Sciences and Development at SAFC, about why the platform was developed, and what it can do.
SAFC Live: Hi Kevin. Perhaps you could start by telling us where the idea for the CHOZN platform system came from?
About three years back, part of our in-house strategic plan involved interviewing around twenty-five customers from various global biopharma companies that make recombinant proteins. I asked them what they think makes for a really good manufacturing process, and consistently a robust supply chain and high productivity were at the top of their list. From there, it became obvious to us that we could and should be looking to build a CHO platform system to meet their needs. We had recently acquired the rights to use ZFNs and thought of the idea to use that technology and combine cell engineering with our media development skills. The goal was to design a CHO cell expression system that closely resembled what our customers were looking for. To do this, we listed all the characteristics they said they wanted, and went back to them for clarification of their definition of items such as ‘higher productivity’. All of the resulting specifications were put into an ISO design control process to start creating the CHOZN system.
SAFC Live: What does the CHOZN platform system include?
It is a cell line, medium and feed supplement system that is completely chemically defined from start to finish; it is also animal component free. From a commercial standpoint, this is the first time that an off-the-shelf platform like this has been available to biopharma companies that did not have their own cell line platform available. It allows them to create and select a stable cell line to maximize production of recombinant proteins quickly and efficiently, increasing speed to market and reducing costs. There are in-house versions at companies like Amgen and Genentech, but they are not available for sale to third parties. We took what these big, sophisticated companies have and tried to make a system that is available to anyone. They might be a little biotech company out of San Francisco, say, with just six people in a lab, but by buying our new platform system they will be capable of producing the sorts of titres that Amgen and others routinely achieve.
SAFC Live: That sounds like a lot of effort!
It was, yes. To put it into perspective, if a biotech company were to try to build it for themselves from scratch, it would take several years, and the outcome would still be uncertain. We have garnered a great deal of expertise over 25 years of media design work and that experience was the real basis that enabled us to create the CHOZN system of cell line, medium and feed. It includes all the procedures that take you from transfection right through to harvest of the material.
During development, we decided to use the CHOZN GS knock-out CHO cell line as the base of the ‘pyramid’, as we felt that this was the strongest system available. It was used as the basis of all our design, and the plan is to trait-stack on top of that in future. It was also built with harmony in mind; cell, media and feeds all were designed together. This is a result of many years of design effort creating custom media formulations for customers’ cell lines that enable them to achieve high productivity levels. When you think of it, it seems like a crazy number, but each customer’s CHO cell is different, and so they require different things from their media. It would not work to make a platform system without having a platform cell line as the basis for it. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a medium that is universally good for all of the diverse cell lines used in the industry. The CHOZN cell line is in harmony with the medium, the medium is in harmony with the feed, and the procedures have been designed to optimize the whole process. This is the reason why we put it all together as a package.
SAFC Live: So what about the future?
The GS CHO cell system is our first version of the system and will enable smaller organizations to manufacture efficiently in the same way large companies can without having to invest a lot of time and energy. The plan is to trait-stack on top of this to make further improvements to cell culture performance and efficacy. Next year, it is likely we will be able to offer a triple knock-out cell line with the GS, GGTA1 and CMAH genes all knocked out. Viral resistance will also be added in the future, and we will continue to stack traits on top of the system. As our research finds new ways to make better cell lines along the way, we will work to introduce them. Additionally, as we continue to improve our nutritional biochemistry knowledge of CHO, we will also incorporate that into the media and feeds. This will be an ongoing process, and over time we will create a platform that steadily gets more productive and efficient for our customers.
To read the full release, please click here.
For more information on SAFC’s CHOZN Cell Lines, visit: www.safcglobal.com/chozn
For more information on SAFC’s CompoZr ZFN offer, visit: www.safcglobal.com/zfnkits
For more information on SAFC’s Cell Design Studio (CDS) offer, visit: www.safcglobal.com/cces