Munich, May 09, 2012 — Icon Genetics GmbH, Munich, Germany (ICON) and Bayer CropScience have entered into a contract development agreement to create novel plant production hosts for biopharmaceuticals. The aim of the agreement is to develop manufacturing hosts with a designer glycosylation, in particular, humanized glycosylation. Such hosts with modified glycosylation of recombinant proteins are necessary for manufacturing of novel or more potent (‘biobetter’) biopharmaceuticals including antibodies and vaccines in green plants.
ICON has been recently acquired by Nomad Bioscience GmbH from Bayer Innovation GmbH. During 1999–2012 since its inception, ICON has developed a number of plant-based manufacturing technologies. Many of the technologies are relying on transient expression in green plants. ICON has developed and brought to GMP compliance a manufacturing process that allows rapid high-level expression of biopharmaceutical proteins in plants using its proprietary transient process magnICON®. In its certified GMP-compliant facility, ICON produces vaccines for BAYER’s clinical trials (individualized vaccines for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma). For manufacturing of other products developed by ICON and its collaborators and licensees, production hosts are required that are able to add specific glycans to the recombinant proteins, such modifications directly affecting pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of the resultant drugs. The deal allows ICON to complete the extensive research and development program that has started in 2006 when ICON has been acquired by Bayer Innovation. That R&D effort involved different divisions of BAYER, and it continued until recently when ICON has been acquired by Nomad Bioscience. Commercial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
Prof. Dr. Yuri Gleba, CEO and co-founder of ICON, said: ”The current agreement allows us to conclude the remaining development work using the competence of BAYER. Ability to provide our partners and customers with the most efficient plant-based manufacturing platform along with the production hosts that add specifically designed glycans to the expressed biopharmaceuticals is a unique selling advantage of ICON”.
ICON is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nomad Bioscience GmbH, Munich, Germany. The Company discovers and develops new biopharmaceuticals and high-value protein products using green plants as production hosts. ICON offers new plant manufacturing technologies which address speed, yield, precision, expression control and safety of product manufacturing in plants. ICON operates its own cGMP-compliant manufacturing facility in Halle, Germany. ICON’s own pipeline includes several ‘biobetter’ anti-cancer antibodies (pre-clinical stage).