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Sepragen, Neugenesis partner on rapid flu response


BURLINGAME and HAYWARD, Calif. The biotech companies Sepragen and Neugenesis are teaming up to develop a platform for monoclonal antibody and influenza vaccine production that is rapid, scalable and flexible enough to respond to a potential pandemic, according to published reports.

The project hopes to combine Sepragen’s proprietary solid phase bioreactor system with Neugenesis’ Neurospora-based expression technology and create a new platform that is more efficient and less expensive than currently available production methods.

Traditionally, influenza vaccines have been produced using fertilized hen’s eggs, in which the albumin serves as a rich growth medium. More recently, cell culture based methods have been developed to produce vaccines that do not have the allergenic potential of egg-derived products. Both methods are expensive and time consuming.

In contrast, Neugenesis’ system uses recombinant strains of the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa that can be modified to express key influenza virus antigens such as the haemagglutinin and neuraminidase proteins. These proteins can then be harvested, processed and used to directly obtain an immune response.

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