Charles River wins Ziphius contract in RNA space

Charles River Laboratories will manufacture plasmid DNA starting materials to support the self-amplified mRNA candidates of Ziphius Vaccines.

The deal will see Belgium-based vaccine developer Ziphius Vaccines leverage Charles River Laboratories’ plasmid DNA network for clinical testing and further validation of its self-amplified RNA (saRNA) vaccine candidates.

Although the specific candidates were not disclosed, Ziphius’ main program focuses on COVID-19, although the company also plans to develop vaccines against dengue, chlamydia and cystic fibrosis.

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No financial details were disclosed.

For Charles River, the announcement comes in the wake of increased demand for RNA-related services resulting from the pandemic.

“The approval and delivery of mRNA vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic has served to accelerate this growing area of ​​therapeutic development,” said Kerstin Dolph, senior vice president of Biologics Solutions Management at Charles River. BioProcess Insider.

“We are excited to advance the work of Ziphius Vaccines in the development of aRNA-based vaccines and look forward to partnering as they progress through the program.” »

Additionally, alongside the recently announced partnership with ASC Therapeutics to manufacture a gene therapy for hemophilia A, this further validates Charles River’s aggressive entry into the advanced therapies space by expanding its development organization business. and contract manufacturing (CDMO).

“In 2021, we completed a series of acquisitions that significantly enhanced our manufacturing capabilities. Cognate BioServices, Cobra Biologics and Vigene Biosciences are recognized industry leaders in the production of viral vectors, plasmid DNA and cell therapy for clinical and commercial supply,” said Dolph.

“Their addition to our portfolio has expanded our comprehensive cell and gene therapy offering to include robust CDMO capabilities. In plasmid DNA in particular, Cobra’s former site in Keele, UK, has a 20-year track record as a GMP licensed manufacturing facility, with 2 GMP plasmid production streams of 50 L. “

And further advancements in the sector are ahead, Dolph continued. “This autumn we are opening a new facility in Alderley Park which will add 16,000 square feet to our UK manufacturing capacity, with three independent production suites for the fermentation of 15 liters of high quality (HQ) plasmids, including fill/finish, and capabilities for off-the-shelf and custom fabrication.

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