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Published on 14 January 2008

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Firms to collaborate on therapeutic proteins


A German-based biotechnology firm is to collaborate with a prescription medicine manufacturer to develop three therapeutic proteins.

ARTES Biotechnology, which is based near Düsseldorf and specialises in recombinant protein production from yeast expression systems, and Rhein Minapharm Biogenetics, a subsidiary of Minapharm, based in Cairo, Egypt, jointly announced the start of a strategic collaboration to develop the proteins.

ARTES will apply its proprietary Hansenula technology platform and know-how to the generation of production cell lines, analytical assay development and lab-scale fermentation.

The yeast strain Hansenula polymorpha is a frequent alternative to Escherichia coli for producing therapeutic proteins or technical enzymesinexpensively.

ARTES has also granted Minapharm a commercial licence option to apply its proprietary technologies to manufacturing and marketing these therapeutic proteins.

ARTES will also be responsible for the 100 L-scale production of a Minapharm protein based on an existing process using E. coli.

Minapharm will carry out the pertinent process research and development, production and commercialisation of the therapeutic proteins.

ARTES managing director Dr Michael Piontek said: “Minapharm’s strategic decision to extend our collaboration is a clear proof of the safety and reliability of the Hansenula technology platform and the quality of our services.”

Minapharm chairman and CEO Dr Wafik Bardissi added: “The anticipated outcome is of reciprocal value to Minapharm’s process R&D programme and the Hansenula technology platform in general.”

Products derived from Hansenula already marketed worldwide include hepatitis B vaccine, insulin, interferon alpha 2a and feed and food enzymes. Several others are in clinical trials.


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