Icon Genetics and Bayer CropScience sign an agreement to develop production hosts with designer glycosylation

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”.

About 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).