Biotech firm Synpromics teams up on cell project

Synpromics is aiming to drive down the cost of gene therapy. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Synpromics is aiming to drive down the cost of gene therapy. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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An Edinburgh life sciences company has announced a joint project aimed at helping to commercialise gene therapy.

Synpromics, based at the city’s BioQuarter life sciences incubator, is to collaborate with the Cell Therapy Catapult in a bid to drive down the cost of manufacturing “viral vectors”, which it said are a “crucial tool” needed to modify patients’ cells to create a therapeutic effect.

“Established manufacturing platforms are limited by laborious processes, a lack of automation and low yields”, the firm said.

“This restricts the utility of viral vectors for the treatment of diseases where large amounts of virus would be needed, and has to date confined their use to local applications such as in the eye and to less prevalent indications, including orphan diseases.”

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The three-year project, partly funded by a £2 million grant from innovation agency Innovate UK, will use synthetic biology to produce higher levels of viral vectors from cell lines.

Synpromics was founded in 2011 to commercialise technology developed by Michael Roberts in the emerging field of synthetic biology, which gives researchers the ability to create man-made DNA sequences.