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Pichia 2009 conference will highlight latest innovations with Pichia pastoris


Research Corporation Technologies (RCT) will hold the Pichia 2009 conference, focusing on the latest developments concerning the yeast Pichia pastoris, the cornerstone of RCT’s Pichia protein expression platform, on Oct. 18-21 in Tucson, Ariz.

Pichia 2009 is intended to provide researchers and developers who use the Pichia platform with up-to-date information on technologies for post-translational modification and process development as well as the application of new genome insights to improve productivity.

The conference will be at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa in Tucson. Speakers and poster sessions will present the latest results achieved with Pichia.

The Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), in Ghent, Belgium, working in collaboration with RCT, recently completed the sequencing of the genome forPichia pastoris. Details appear in the June 2009 issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Two of the authors of that paper, Nico Callewaert, Ph.D., and Kristof De Schutter, Ph.D., will speak at the conference.

James Cregg, Ph.D., of the Keck Graduate Institute, will deliver the keynote address, “A Historic Perspective with a Look to the Future.” A molecular and cellular biologist with particular expertise and interest in yeasts, Cregg has played a major role in developing the Pichia platform.

Other speakers will include Kerry Chester of University College London; Karin Kovar of Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland; Anton Gleider of the University of Graz, Austria; and Mark DeSouza of Dyax Corporation, Cambridge, Mass.; as well as representatives from Mitsubishi Pharma Corporation, Osaka, Japan; Lonza, Visp, Switzerland; and Invitrogen Corporation, Carlsbad, Calif.

Pichia has become a major protein expression platform, and its use has grown and progressed over the last several years, producing an ever-expanding variety of proteins. Especially significant have been the modifications created under thePichia GlycoSwitch® system, which make the production of proteins with human-like glycosylation possible.

Examples of pharmaceutical proteins made in Pichia include a vaccine against hepatitis B; human serum albumin, a component of blood plasma; and DX-88 (ecallantide), a small protein that inhibits plasma kallikrein for the treatment of hereditary angioedema.

“As the opportunities for therapeutic biologics continue to grow, the interest inPichia also has continued to expand,” said conference organizer David Bramhill, Ph.D., director of RCT’s Gene eXpression Technologies program.

“Significant progress has been made since RCT’s last Pichia conference in 2006. The 2009 conference will highlight the latest innovations and improvements to thePichia platform, and bring together the top researchers in academia and industry.”

The Pichia 2009 Conference will address:

  • Novel ways to make glycoproteins in Pichia with human-like glycosylation
  • Products that are approved and in development for human pharmaceuticals
  • How Pichia can be scaled up in a cost-effective manner
  • The latest methods for downstream processing in Pichia production

About RCT:

RCT is a Tucson-based technology investment and management company that provides early-stage funding and development for promising biomedical companies and technologies. RCT focuses on technology investments with origins from universities and research institutions worldwide. To learn more, see RCTech.com.

About Pichia:

RCT’s Pichia platform includes Pichia Expression and Pichia GlycoSwitch®. PichiaExpression is used for producing non-glycosylated products, or for products in which yeast glycosylation is acceptable. Pichia GlycoSwitch® is used for producing human-like glycosylated products. For more information about Pichia, contact David Bramhill at 520-748-4443 or DBramhill@RCTech.com.

To register for the Pichia 2009 conference, see Pichia.com. For more information, contact Andrea Isner, assistant to Bramhill, at 520-748-4468 or AIsner@RCTech.com.