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Pichia GlycoSwitch® Protein Expression System

The Picha GlycoSwitch® System is based on yeast strains that have been engineered to perform specific glycosylation steps at high fidelity. Many therapeutic proteins are glycoproteins and require the attachment of sugar structures (i.e. glycosylation) to allow for proper folding, expression and biologic/therapeutic activity. Current manufacturing methods based on mammalian cell culture do not allow for the precise control of glycosylation and produce a mixture of different glycoforms, some of which are beneficial and some of which are problematic or of little benefit.

With Pichia GlycoSwitch®, the yeast’s own hyperglycosyl N-glycans are switched to the more human biantennary complex type N-glycans. By mutating the Pichia pastoris OCH1 gene and introducing heterologous enzyme activities, Pichia has been engineered to produce human-like glycoproteins.

The Pichia GlycoSwitch® System consists of patents, strains and vectors that are useful for making proteins with a number of different, near-homogenous glycoforms. This allows for the identification of the most biologically active glycoforms and creates the opportunity to control and optimize the profile of a final product whether it is used as a therapeutic, a research reagent, or some other purpose. Since, in addition to basic protein function, glycosylation also influences characteristics like pharmacokinetics, stability, bioavailability, and tissue distribution, Pichia GlycoSwitch® technology can be broadly applied to biotherapeutics including growth factors, enzymes, vaccine antigens, fusion proteins, binding domains and monoclonal antibodies. Examples of proteins produced in the Pichia GlycoSwitch®include GM-CSF, IL-10, CH2 domain, IFN-beta, transferrin, and IL-22.
For more information on the Pichia GlycoSwitch® System and RCT’s licensing program for the technology, please visit www.pichia.com.


Roland Contreras, Ph.D., Nico Callewaert, Ph.D., and colleagues at Ghent University and the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) in Belgium.

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