RCT and BioGrammatics Announce Partnership, Launch of the Pichia pastoris GlycoSwitch® Expression System
Research Corporation Technologies (RCT) and BioGrammatics, Inc., announced today their partnership to commercialize and distribute Pichia GlycoSwitch® — a new expression system to modify the glycosylation of recombinant proteins in the yeast Pichia pastoris. Pichia GlycoSwitch® adds to the advantages of using Pichia pastoris as a host for the production of recombinant proteins with increased flexibility over protein glycosylation (the addition of sugars to a protein of interest). Under the partnership, BioGrammatics will provide expression system kits and services; RCT will oversee commercial licensing programs.
Now, more than ever, drug discovery programs are turning to biologics as the source for new therapeutics, utilizing the incredible diversity of proteins to find new disease treatments. To synthesize and manipulate these proteins, researchers normally insert genes coding for the desired protein into bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells. As eukaryotic organisms, yeasts have the same core aspects of the glycosylation pathway as human cells, thereby, improving the prospects of proper folding, stability and function of a target protein. However, a common problem when producing human or mammalian glycoproteins in yeast is that the yeast glycosylation generates a yeast glycoform of the protein of interest. In order to generate a more human-like glycoprotein, Pichia pastoris yeast strains have been engineered to contain modified glycosylation machinery. The PichiaGlycoSwitch® Expression System can express recombinant glycoproteins with human-like glycosylation, yielding all the benefits of microbial fermentation.
“BioGrammatics’ experience and expertise with Pichia pastoris makes them the ideal partner to launch our Pichia GlycoSwitch® Expression System. We are looking forward to working with them and future licensees of Pichia GlycoSwitch®to expand the use of this valuable tool for protein production,” states Kurt Gehlsen, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at RCT.
“BioGrammatics is thrilled to offer the GlycoSwitch® system in partnership with RCT. GlycoSwitch® will help meet the ever increasing need for more sophisticated products produced in Pichia. We plan to work with the Pichia community to further improve GlycoSwitch® and develop new tools and methods for the protein production goals of our customers,” states Knut Madden, CEO of BioGrammatics.
Pichia pastoris is a yeast widely used for recombinant protein expression. As a microbial eukaryotic organism, Pichia combines the post-translational modification systems similar to those found in mammalian cells, with the ease of use/manipulation of E. coli. Decades of processes development have been focused on efficiently growing Pichia to extremely high cell densities; and multiple generations of molecular biology tools have been created to engineer strains to produce tens of grams/liters of a recombinant protein product. Pichia can secrete high levels of properly folded, functional proteins into a simple, defined medium for easy purification. There have been more than 20,000 publications on the use ofPichia for the production of more than 5,000 proteins, with more than 70 products manufactured in Pichia on the market today. Pichia products include enzymes manufactured in 200,000-liter fermenters and two FDA-approved therapeutics. Pichia GlycoSwitch® now also addresses the need to better control the glycosylation (sugar addition) of recombinant glycoproteins and offers researchers a new way to explore the role of protein glycosylation and various glycan structures on protein function. For additional information about Pichia, please visit Pichia.com.
BioGrammatics, Inc., was founded to support recombinant protein expression withPichia pastoris, and now offers kits and contract services to accelerate research, process development and commercial success with Pichia. BioGrammatics started in the laboratory of Dr. Jim Cregg at the Keck Graduate Institute in 2008; current operations are in Carlsbad, Calif. Dr. Cregg continues to guide BioGrammatics as chairman of the board of directors. BioGrammatics expertise in creating and optimizing Pichia strains for protein production now extends to genome and transcriptome-wide, sequence characterization of samples for discovery, development and regulatory issues. For additional information about BioGrammatics, please visit BioGrammatics.com.
RCT is a Tucson, Ariz.-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. RCT’s technology portfolio includes platforms and tools that support the discovery, development and manufacturing of therapeutics. Current platform technologies include Pichia andE.coli protein expression systems and novel protein binding scaffolds. To learn more about RCT and our business, see RCTech.com. For additional information about the Pichia GlycoSwitch® Expression System and licensing the technology, please visit Pichia.com.
For further information, please contact:
Kurt R. Gehlsen, Ph.D.
Research Corporation Technologies
6440 N. Swan Road, Suite 200
Tucson, AZ 85718
Knut Madden, Ph.D.
2120 Las Palmas Dr. Suite D
Carlsbad CA, 92011