Cobra Therapeutics Ltd [Cobra], a wholly owned subsidiary of ML Laboratories plc, has been presented with a prestigious government award in recognition of progress made on developing a new manufacturing technology for gene medicines.
Yesterday at a ceremony at the Bank of England the Rt. Hon. Sir Edward George, GBE, Governor of the Bank of England, presented Cobra with a Smart Foresight Award for the development of a new generation of safer gene (DNA) products and industrially scalable manufacturing processes for DNA-based medicines.
The award is recognition of the progress made on a project originally funded with the aid of a DTI grant under the SPUR scheme. David Thatcher, Director of Manufacturing Operations for Cobra, said "The SPUR Grant enabled us to take a long-term view and make strategic investment in the manufacturing technologies that are now reaping benefit both for Cobra and other pharmaceutical companies".
In the early 90's approaches to DNA manufacture were considered unsafe, unscaleable and unsuitable for commercial manufacture. Cobra has developed novel approaches to large-scale manufacture of pharmaceutical grade DNA. From this technology platform it has been able to create a contract manufacturing business supplying gene medicines to other pharmaceutical organisations. Cobra is now at the leading edge of DNA manufacture, in particular for DNA vaccines and Cancer Vaccines.
Hitherto all DNA-based therapies have carried antibiotic resistance genes and have been manufactured using procedures that use antibiotics to ensure retention of the DNA through large-scale production. Cobra has developed a system, which allows manufacture of DNA with high yield and quality, and without the use of antibiotics or antibiotic resistance genes. Gene therapies that use this system, termed ORT, are safer for both the patient and the environment. This patented DNA vector system is being used by Cobra in the production of DNA for the clinical trials of a promising vaccine for HIV, which is currently in Phase I clinical trials in the UK and Kenya supported by International AIDS Vaccines Initiative (IAVI) the Bill Gates supported foundation
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