ProBioGen receives Innovation Award Berlin-Brandenburg

Berlin, Germany, 11 December 2009

Accolade for novel, proprietary vaccine production methods based on duck cell lines

ProBioGen AG, a leading biotechnology company in cell engineering and production of biopharmaceuticals, today announced it has received the Innovation Award Berlin-Brandenburg for its unique vaccine production methods based on duck cells. The joint accolade by the German states Berlin and Brandenburg is awarded each year to the states' most innovative companies. 

According to the jury, Probiogen was chosen from 169 participants – thereof 21 life science companies - for its new duck cell line that removes the biggest obstacles for the fast and efficient production of vaccines, in particular for epidemic or pandemic diseases such as flu. Even though chicken cells have been used for vaccine production for decades, the traditional production method has a number of considerable disadvantages: supply of embryonated chicken eggs from bird flocks nurtured in sterile environments is limited and needs to be planned months ahead, virus cultivation in these eggs is demanding, and chicken cells are plagued by endogenous retroviruses that may become activated and contaminate vaccine lots under certain conditions. 

To address these issues, ProBioGen has developed stable duck cell lines in a specific synthetic environment. Cultivation and infection of the cell lines has been adapted to chemically defined and highly scalable processes. The cell lines are independent of the breeding conditions necessary for live stock and have already been successfully modified further as packaging cell lines for production of certain modern vectorial vaccines in addition to highly attenuated poxviruses. Consequently, these proprietary duck cell lines allow for robust and versatile large-scale vaccine production and meet standardized safety criteria. 

The potential of the lines has been demonstrated repeatedly in independent bioreactor runs for recombinant highly attenuated poxviruses. Clinically relevant constructs have been produced in a chemically defined process to titers of up to 10^9 infectious units per mL prior to any concentration or polishing steps.

 

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